MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Part 2 - The number of groups and individuals who may be called ‘Qur’anists’ appears to be increasing - Aisha Musa, PhD Harvard University.

Aisha Musa, PhD Harvard University.

My comments : 

i. This is an article written by Prof. Aisha Musa who holds a PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations at Harvard University. She is currently an  assistant professor of Islamic Studies in the Religious Studies Department at Florida Inter-national University, in Miami. 

Dr Musa’s training at Harvard focused on early Islamic scriptural history, specifically the relative authority of the Qur’an and Prophetic Tradi-tions (Hadith). 

Her book,  Hadith as Scripture: Discussions on the Authority of Prophetic Tradi-tions in Islam (Palgrave, 2008), explores the development of the doctrine of duality of revelation and issues surrounding the relative authority of the Qur’an and the Prophetic Traditions (Hadith).

ii. To all the village idiots and their brethren, I did not write this. This is just to tell you what other people (much cleverer than you of course) may be discussing. This is slightly beyond anti-hysteria kits, flying off to the moon, kahwin misyar, two coconuts and a ghost and stuff like that.

iv. This is Part 2. I have some comments at the end.  Remember I did not write this. It is in the Internet, which is brought into our houses by the gomen of Malaysia. So go and blame the gomen for bringing this to us.

Part 2 :

For those who accept his findings, he says, ‘the results include a totally new sense of salvation, and full awareness that the Muslim masses have fallen vic-tim to Satan’s schemes’ (Khalifa 1982).

Khalifa starts by establishing premises on which all Muslims agree: obeying the Messen-ger is obligatory and Messengers do not speak for themselves (Khalifa 1982, pp. 1–2). 

By identifying these premises and using them as a starting point, Khalifa anticipates the response most often made when the Hadith are challenged – the Qur’an commands obe-dience to the Messenger, which requires acceptance of the Hadith. 

Khalifa understands this and agrees with a need to obey the Messenger. Where Khalifa differs with the majority of Muslims is on what obedience to the Messenger requires and what represents the teachings of the Messenger: 

Muhammad is represented by the Quran alone’ (Khalifa 1982, p. 3)

Khalifa cites more than 70 verses from the Qur’an, in both Arabic and Eng-lish, to support a number of assertions, including:

•The Qur’an is ‘complete, perfect, and fully detailed’;

•Muhammad’s only duty was to deliver the Qur’an;

•Muhammad was forbidden from explaining the Qur’an;

•Obeying the Messenger is following only the Qur’an;

•Religious practices came from Abraham, not Muhammad;

•‘Hadith’ and ‘Sunna’ are ‘100% conjecture’;

The Qur’an is only ‘Hadith’ that Muslims should follow. 

Khalifa (1982) cites many verses, but here I will only mention some key verses used. 

The translations are those of Khalifa, and these differ from more mainstream translators. The emphasis is also that of Khalifa. 

Among the verses used to support his assertion that the Qur’an is complete and fully detailed are 6:38–39: ‘We did not leave anything out of this book…’ (Khalifa 1982, p. 10). 

He then cites portions of 6:114–115: ‘Shall Iseek other than God as a source of law, when He revealed this Book to you fully detai-led.

The word of your Lord is complete in truth & justice’ (p. 10). 

Khalifa challenges Muslims by citing these verses under the heading, ‘Do you believe God or not ?’ (p. 10) 

The challenge is directed toward those who argue that the Hadith are a necessary com-plement to the Qur’an. 

How can a ‘complete’ book require a ‘complement’? 

The none-too-subtle suggestion is that no one who believes such a thing believes God. One who does not believe God is a disbeliever. 

As he did in his preface, Khalifa harshly condemns the vast majority of Muslims. This too is a very serious charge and one that angers many Muslims.

One of the strongest arguments for Hadith has to do with the details of religious prac-tices. Khalifa understands this. He says ‘their favorite question’ is ‘If the Quran is com-plete (as God says), where do we find the details of Salat [sic ] prayers?’ 

Khalifa’s parenthetical insertion is yet another none-too-subtle implication: those who ask this question do not believe what God says. He further states that the question ‘reveals their total ignorance of the Quran’ (Khalifa 1982, p. 37). 

Khalifa’s response to ‘their favorite question’ is that all religious practices come to us from Abraham, in support of which he cites Qur’an 22:78: 

He has blessed you and imposed no hardship in your religion; the religion of your father Abraham. Abraham is the one who named you ‘Muslims’ in the beginning…Therefore you shall observe the Salat prayers, give the Zakat charity…(Khalifa 1982, p. 38)

To show that the specific religious practices mentioned in 22:78 were given to Abra-ham, Khalifa emphasizes part of 21:72–73: ‘and We taught them righteous works and the observance of Salat and Zakat . (Khalifa 1982, p. 48). 

He offers similar verses regarding fast-ing and the Hajj to show that they too were known and practiced since the time of Abraham (Khalifa 1982, pp. 49–50), and Muhammad was to follow the religion of Abra-ham (Khalifa 1982, p. 40). 

Muhammad’s contribution to Islam was not the details of reli-gious practices, as these were already known. They are Abraham’s contribution to Muslims’ religious lives. Muhammad’s contribution was the delivery of the Qur’an.

Pointing out the Qur’an’s use of the Arabic construction ma…illa,  which he refers to as a ‘double negative’ used for emphasis, Khalifa cites the Qur’an 42:48 and 5:99 in support of the idea that Muhammad had ‘no duty except delivering (Quran)’ (Khalifa 1982, p. 32).

Another popular argument for Hadith that Khalifa attacks is that Muhammad explained things beyond the details of religious practices. He declares emphatically that Muhammad was forbidden to explain the Qur’an, citing 75:17–19: ‘It is we who will put it together as a Quran. Once we reveal it, you shall follow it . Then, it is we who will explain it’ (Khalifa 1982, p. 69).

What Khalifa offers is radical redefinition of the role of the Messenger as the majority of Muslims understand it. 

He even uses Hadith from the collections of al-Bukhari and Muslim in which Muhammad prohibited writing anything from him except the Qur’an as evidence that the advocates of Hadith do not even follow their own teachings (Khalifa1982, p. 34). 

However, he does not stop there. He also attacks the idea that Prophetic Hadith are a form of divine inspiration. Here too, Qur’anic verses are Khalifa’s weapon of choice, especially verses that use the Arabic word Hadith, such as: ‘‘These are God’s verses; we recite them for you truthfully. In which ‘Hadith’, [sic ] beside God and His verses do they believe in [sic ]?’’ (Khalifa 1982,p. 57). 

To further emphasize his point that the ‘‘Quran is the only ‘Hadith’ to be fol-lowed,’’ and that ‘all other Hadiths are blasphemous and misleading fabrications,’ Khalifa follows his citation of Qur’an 45:6 with 39:23 and 31:6–7, which also contain the Arabic word Hadith: 

‘‘God has revealed the best ‘Hadith’; [sic ] a book…;’’ and 

‘‘[t]here are those who advocate vain ‘Hadith’ causing diversion from the path of God, without knowledge, and fail to take such actions seriously…’’ (Khalifa 1982, p. 58). 

For Khalifa, there is no middle ground. There is no question of ‘authentic’ or ‘inau-thentic’ Hadith. For Khalifa, the crucial question is posed in 45:6. Khalifa sees anyone who follows any Hadith ‘after God and His verses’ as being described in 31:6.

They are ‘idol worshippers’ of Muhammad who are unaware of their idolatry and consider them-selves righteous (Khalifa 1982, 53–4). 

The importance of Hadith and Sunna for Khalifa is that they are a ‘necessary test to distinguish the true Muslim from the false Muslim’ (Khalifa 1982, p. 55). 

It is not surprising that Muslims worldwide reacted with anger and hostility. However,  not all Muslims had this reaction. 

Some were moved by the Qur’anic arguments he pre-sented.  One such Muslim is Kassim Ahmad, author of Hadith : a Re-evaluation  (Ahmad 1997). 

Kassim Ahmad. Born and raised in Malaysia in a traditional Sunni family, Ahmad (1997) says that he held the generally accepted Sunni beliefs, tempered by Ibn Khaldun’s criteria of checking tra-ditions against the Qur’an and rational thinking, until he encountered Khalifa’s work in  1985. 

Khalifa ‘opened for [him] a way to solve the problem of the Hadith’ (Ahmad  1997, p. 3). The problem to which Ahmad refers is ‘their negative effects on the Muslim community’ and their connection to the decline and fall of the Muslims. Because of their negative effects, Ahmad believes Muslims need to completely ‘re-evaluate the whole heri-tage of traditional Islamic thought’ (Ahmad 1997, pp. 2–3). 

Ahmad is not alone in calling for such a re-evaluation. Many Muslims have worked to reform Islam and Muslim think-ing, including Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, Muhammad ‘Abduh, and Rashid Rida. In spite of the efforts of such reformers, Ahmad says, ‘the condition of the Muslim community has not changed much and continues to be precarious.’ The question that Muslims must ask themselves is ‘why?’ 

Ahmad recognizes that many social, cultural, political, historic, economic and other factors play a role, but not all factors play an equal role. Ahmad sees ideology as the most important factor (Ahmad 1997, pp. 5–6). 

He identifies what he sees as the basis for the failure of the modern reform movement begun by Muhammad Abduh:  His basic references are still the Quran  and the Hadith. 

I have pointed out that herein lies the failure of this movement. The Hadith, and everything else, have to be judged by the Quran. (Ahmad 1997, p. ix)

Ahmad’s hypothesis is that the early Muslims were successful when the Qur’an was their sole source of religious guidance and that Muslim society only declined after they granted Hadith authority along with the Qur’an:  After about three hundred years, extraneous harmful teachings not taught by Prophet Muham-mad but skillfully attributed to him gradually gained a foothold in the Muslim community and turned them away from the dynamic invincible ideology that initially brought them success.(Ahmad 1997, p. 8)

Although, he identifies the use of Hadith along with Qur’an as the reason for the decline and stagnation of Muslim society and calls for a complete re-evaluation of Islam’s intellectual heritage to remedy the problem of the Hadith, unlike Khalifa, Ahmad makes it clear that such a re-evaluation is not an attack against classical scholars. 

It is ‘a normal scientific procedure,’ in which all ‘great [Muslim] philosophers and scholars’ engaged (Ahmad 1997, p. 17). 

Ahmad then addresses what he calls ‘the Traditionists’ theory’ of the Hadith. He divides this into four arguments that he addresses one-by-one (Ahmad 1997, pp. 23–49).

•Sunna is revelation;

•‘Obey the Messenger’ means ‘Uphold the Hadith’;

•Hadith Interprets Qur’an;

•The Example of the Prophet.

Ahmad begins with the idea that the ‘wisdom’ referred to in the Qur’an refers to extra-Qur’anic revelations given to Muhammad. Ahmad’s starting premise is that the Qur’an explains itself. 

In looking at the twenty occurrences of the word hikma (wisdom) in the Qur’an, he concludes that ‘it is obvious that it refers to the teachings of the Quran, or to general wisdom that all prophet - messengers or moral teachers were endowed with’ (Ahmad 1997, p. 24). 

Among the verses he cites to show that the ‘wisdom’ is to be found in the teachings of the Qur’an is 17:39: ‘This is part of  the wisdom that your Lord reveals to you, where the word ‘wisdom’ refers to some 13 ethical teachings enumerated in verses 22 to 38’ (Ahmad 1997, pp. 23–4). 

Among the verses he cites to show that the ‘wisdom’ is something with which all prophets, mes-sengers or moral teachers were endowed are 3:81, which states that God has given all the prophets ‘the Book and wisdom,’ and 31:12, which states that God granted wis-dom to Luqman. 

Along with verses that contain the word hikma, Ahmad cites verses that describe the Qur’an as hakim, to support the idea that the ‘wisdom’ that God gave to Muhammad refers to the teachings of the Qur’an and not to any extra-Qur’a-nic revelation. 

The wise leadership that Muhammad demonstrated was ‘consequent upon his acting strictly in accordance with the ethical teachings of the Quran’ (Ahmad 1997, p. 25).

After examining Qur’anic usage of the word hikma, Ahmad examines the usages of Sunna and Hadith. He shows two different usages of Sunna, the first is for God’s system (Sunna) mentioned in 48:23, and the second is for ‘the example of the fate suffered by ancient communities,’ mentioned in 8:38. 

‘None,’ he says, ‘refers to the behavior of the Prophet.’ In discussing the Qur’anic usage of the word Hadith, Ahmad cites the same verses Khalifa used and concludes that the Qur’anic usage ‘categorically rejects any Hadith besides the Quran’ (Ahmad 1997, pp. 26–7). 

Addressing the second Traditionist argument that links obeying the Messenger to fol-lowing Hadith, Ahmad argues that ‘the messenger is not an independent agency [sic ],’ but the ‘agency [sic ] that delivered the message’ (Ahmad 1997, p. 31). 

Ahmad then mentions those verses that indicate that the messenger’s only function is to deliver the message. In keeping with the principle that the Qur’an explains itself, Ahmad points out that all verses that mention obedience to the Messenger do so only in connection with obedi-ence to God (Ahmad 1997, p. 32).

Having addressed the issues of the Sunna as a form of divine revelation and obedience to the Messenger, Ahmad takes up the idea that Muhammad explained the Qur’an. Here too, he presents the same verses used by Khalifa, but uses a milder tone. 

Like Khalifa, Ahmad argues that prayer, charity, fasting, and pilgrimage have been inherited from Abraham. He adds that even so, the Qur’an mentions the main features of these practices and that people learn these practices from parents and teachers, not from Hadith (Ahmad1997, p. 36).

Ahmad then responds to the final argument of what he calls the Traditionists’ theory – that when the Qur’an calls the Messenger ‘a good example’ in 33:21, it means his  behavior must be imitated as closely as possible in all things and this requires Hadith – in the same way he responded to the previous arguments, offering other verses from the Qur’an to explain the meaning key terms. 

To explain the meaning of ‘good example’(uswa hasana) in 33:21, Ahmad argues that the same words are used to describe Abraham and those who believed with him in 60:4 :   A good example has been set for you by Abraham and those with him. They said to their people,‘We disown you and the idols you set up besides God…’ (Ahmad 1997, pp. 38–9)

According to Ahmad, this verse shows that the good example refers to ‘one’s religious convictions, ideological position and struggle’ (Ahmad 1997, p. 39).

He also argues that it is unreasonable to think that God would require Muslims to imitate Muhammad’s per-sonal behaviors such as eating and dressing because such behaviors are matters of culture, education, and personal preference (Ahmad 1997, p. 39).

After dealing with general arguments supporting the Hadith as a source of religious law and guidance, Ahmad presents his argument that the Qur’an is complete, perfect, and fully detailed. 

Again, he uses the same verses used by Khalifa and comes to the conclusion that the status of Hadith is a form of idolatry: ‘To place the Hadith on an equivalent footing with revelation is to create another source of guidance – an idol. This is themajor problem with the Hadith’ (Ahmad 1997, p. 49). 

Ahmad, however, tempers his position, saying : the theory or doctrine that the hadith is an equal source of guidance with the Quran, pro-pounded by Shafi‘i, is the most important aspect of the hadith question. Even though we totally reject this doctrine, we do not reject the hadith as a secondary source, provided that it does not contradict the Quran. 

On this view also, we say that the hadith is an important source of early Muslim social history. (Ahmad 1997, p. 49)

Ahmad’s views on the Hadith, the nature of revelation, and the role of the Messenger, and the Qur’anic verses he uses to support those views are essentially the same as those presented by Khalifa, but his presentation differs dramatically. 

Not only does he use a much less strident and condemnatory tone, he also appeals to rational thinking, desires for social reform, and classical Muslim intellectual history to buffer and support his call for re-evaluation of the status of Hadith. 

Ahmad’s more tempered presentation was not enough to keep his book from being banned in his home country of Malaysia, nor from his being declared a heretic. However, his style has not garnered the degree of hostility that Muslims have directed against Rashad Khalifa.

My comments : This article will again expose  a few things.

i. Some werewolves will be frothing at the mouth. In the movies awerewolf is a satanic creature.

ii. The village idiots will react by screaming and yelling - due to extremely limited brain function.

iii. The doomed will say, "Let me ask my favorite retard".

iv. The non existent will ponder, "How can I reply this intelligently? How do I double check what they are saying."  But they do not exist. They are non existent.

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