Rules and authority (after hadiths poll)

January 20, 2010 at 12:52 pm (Islam)

I felt I should say something following the poll I made a few posts ago on hadiths, and why they add to the Quran’s instructions. Thank you to everyone who answered, it was very interesting to survey people’s opinions. The poll is open indefinitely, so if you haven’t already answered, feel free to!

The most popular answer at this point is that God was considered to be revealing things to Muhammad besides what is in the Quran. This is not really a surprise, since mainstream Islam and shariah law is based on this premise. But all around the blogosphere, I see people saying that the Quran is the word of God and hadiths are the word of man and the two cannot be compared. I have said this myself.

I just thought it was interesting that so many of us seem to naturally assume that the Quran would have more weight, when in fact this is not really the mainstream position, and it seems likely that it was not the original belief of the early Muslims either – they probably accepted divine commands from the mouth of Muhammad. The idea of divine scripture being central to everything, like a “life manual”, is basically the Protestant attitude to the Bible, and I wonder if this has pervaded our consciousness in western culture and caused us to see the Quran this way.

Of course there are more issues about authenticity when it comes to hadiths, as compared to the Quran. And the Quran was certainly treated differently than the sayings of Muhammad. But how was it viewed by the early Muslims? Was it used the same way Protestants use the Bible – as a life manual; or was it a much more mystical entity, recited in prayer and revered as a part of the mystery of God? Where did actually they take their authority from on matters of ritual, law, behaviour…? These are questions I think need to be asked rather than taking the liberty of making assumptions.

Unless, of course, history doesn’t matter and we divorce ourselves completely from the origins of our religions, choosing to let our religion be whatever it has evolved to become over the centuries (which may well be an improvement). Nothing wrong with that AT ALL as long as we are clear we are not following a “universal” religion in its original form.

Advertisements

42 Comments

  1. susanne430 said,

    Interesting topic. I can see what you mean about people putting hadiths ahead of the Quran as it does seem this way for many. Or that’s the impression I’ve gotten. I’m eager to see if any Muslims reply to this and let us know if this is true or not.

    • Wrestling With Religion said,

      Susanne – I think the mainstream position – as you told me you heard it from your friend too – is that God spoke to Muhammad both through the Quran and outside of the Quran (which resulted in “sunnah”). So since both are from God, there is no question of one being higher than the other. The only reason for trusting Quran more than hadiths is that hadiths may not be totally authentic.

  2. LK said,

    Read “No god but God” by Reza Aslan. He addresses a lot of these questions including where most Islamic practices originated from.

    I still think the Qur’an is higher than hadith and one should use the Qur’an to figure out if a hadith is valid. Also, knowing the history and cultural practices of the Arabian people at the time before and of Muhammad helps. Hadith causes more problems for westerners because it tends to be somewhat culturally bias. Something that was inappropriate in Arabia (Like music or dancing) may be the cultural norm for an American or more so an African muslim. Providing that cultural norm doesn’t contest with the message of the Qur’an it should not cause an issue. So you basically have to look at 1) what Muhammad and other prophets did regarding certain situations and 2) the Qur’an to find out if a hadith is a) authentic and/or b) applies to all of something or just certain instances(ex: ALL music is haram or some music is haram due to content and context).

    • Wrestling With Religion said,

      LK – I got the impression Aslan discusses this type of thing, just from that part you quoted on your blog! I will definitely try to read the book at some point.

      I agree, the hadiths are coloured by the culture of the time, and if we have a hadith saying such and such happened e.g. someone used this hand for that and that hand for the other, it doesn’t mean that is part of Islam, unless it was given as an instruction.

      I definitely think Muhammad was considered to have a divinely inspired religious authority, but where do we draw the line between inspired and non-inspired sayings? If he said a fly’s wing contains poison and the other wing contains the cure, do we have to understand this as divinely inspired, or could he just be repeating an old wives’ tale? Maybe it was just his sayings on religion and morality that were supposed to be inspired? But then Islam covers every part of life, hence all the bathroom habits being inspired as well. It’s mind-boggling.

  3. Amber said,

    I voted for the most popular answer, because that’s how I see Muslims acting. While they may say that hadith are subservient to the Qur’an, they don’t (in my experience) actually treat them that way.

    I’ve heard Muslims refer to Mohammed as a ‘living Qur’an’. The best example for everyone, ever. So the desire to know every last little thing he ever did so you can emulate him is perhaps an easy one to understand. I mean, I personally don’t get it. I don’t understand why it matters which foot you enter the house with, your toilet habits, which hand you eat with, how Mohammed sat to eat, all that. I don’t get how any of that is going to lead you to a closer relationship with God. But I’ve seen people who insist that *everything* you do must be done ‘Sunnah way’ – to the extent that they got rid of all their furniture and sleep on mats on the floor because ‘that’s the way the Prophet did it’. And….? Do you think if Mohammed was around today he wouldn’t be sleeping in a normal bed if he could?

    It’s part of why I *like* that we don’t have a similar, play by play of Jesus’ life on earth. I think it makes it clear that things like that don’t, in fact, ultimately matter. It doesn’t matter whether Jesus was right or left handed, because neither hand is ‘evil’ or ‘better’ than the other. It doesn’t matter that he used the ‘facilities’ of the day, because we have better ones now, and there’s nothing wrong with human ingenuity improving health and cleanliness. Right foot, left foot first, doesn’t matter. They’re both good feet. The…prejudice against ‘left’ is a superstition, nothing else.

    • LK said,

      I agree with you, some people get a little obsessive over it. The muslims I know don’t know enough about Muhammad to copy him that much lol! And are even willing to use updated facilities and methods (aka a shower instead of a bucket, whipes instead of a watering can). Oddly enough, I never learned the “what foot first” rule for the mosque or the bathroom. I mentioned it and my friends looked at me like they’d never heard that before and I was crazy. So this practice may not actually be the majority, or at least, not the majority in the West.

    • Wrestling With Religion said,

      Amber – I think I have finally worked out that the sunnah was meant to be as divinely inspired as the Quran, so they are equal, BUT hadiths are not totally accurate in representing the sunnah. So that is why the Quran comes first, but the Quran leaves a lot of gaps that hadiths are more than able to fill in.

      Which brings me to the part about emulating Muhammad – it seems like superstition to me too, a lot of it. But I think some people really do feel closer to Muhammad and God by doing that. They think that’s what’s required, so it makes them feel good to do it. I feel sorry for left-handed Muslims though.

      • LK said,

        No one has said anything bad about me being left handed at school 🙂 Sometimes what we read isn’t the majority, but it sticks out because it seems so weird to us. I never got the impression from school that I am suppose to think anything to the left is evil.

        • Wrestling With Religion said,

          My husband has said Muslims have to eat with their right hand. Hence I have never laid the knife and fork out in the usual way (for me). He uses them one way round, and I use them the other way round. Knife and fork is not even traditional in his culture, so the only reason he uses them the other way round is this rule.

          I think it made a lot of sense in the old days to use one hand for clean tasks and the other one for dirty tasks. Without soap, that is a sensible way of minimising contamination of your food etc. And of course since most people are right handed, the tradition will naturally be to use that hand for the nice, clean things. But the problem is when cultural traditions become enshrined in religion… it becomes mystified, sacralised, and unchangeable!

        • Amber said,

          You’re a *lefty*?!? *crosses self*

          Away with your evil, backwards self!

          😉

          Oooh…I researched once where the whole…left handed is evil superstition came from, but I’ve forgotten most of it now. It was just so silly. (I’m not referring just to in Islam, but it’s a superstition all over the place)

          • LK said,

            LOL it is silly. Yes I’m sure it was for cleanliness reasons. Hmmmm the muslims at school eat with both hands. I bet if I said that to My Love he’d think I was crazy!

            Certain Islamic cultures stick more firmly to certain rules than others as well so you may find some things to be more present in one culture but not so much in another. I’ve noticed that different cultures seem to have different rules, even within the middle east.

  4. Amber said,

    Sooo…in a quick google, I found a reference to why Muslims eat with the right hand. Apparently, it’s because there’s a hadith where Mohammed says that the devil eats with his left hand:

    “Say: in the Name of Allah at the start of your meal, eat with your right hand and eat of the dish what is nearer to you.” (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim) We find those Prophetic commands indicative of recommendability, but his saying: “And eat with your right hand” in particular indicates obligation, this sense being backed up by another hadith saying: “Let no one of you ever eat with his left hand, because the devil eats with his left hand and drinks with his left hand.” (Reported by Muslim and at-Tirmidhi, on the authority of `Abdullah ibn `Umar)”

    I found this at one of those, ‘ask a sheik’ sites: http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=FatwaE&cid=1119503543408&pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar%2FASELayout

    So take of it what you will, but I’d assume these hadith, and possibly similar would be why Muslims do things with the ‘right’ side. Maybe that’s why no one at your mosque, LK, knows about it? It is a Shia mosque, I assume, and you’ve said they don’t use the same hadith, right?

    Oh, and (don’t ask me where in the hadith it is), but you’re supposed to enter a bathroom with the left foot and leave with the right foot. 🙂

    • Wrestling With Religion said,

      That’s interesting. I didn’t realise it was as strong a reason as “THE DEVIL eats with the left hand”. :O Wow!

    • LK said,

      Ok so I just asked my Love and he basically said they are suggestions but not obligatory. The left hand eating rule did have a lot to do with cleanliness.

      As far as Shias and hadith are concerned they don’t really follow Muslim or Bukhari. They will not follow a hadith by a person they feel in an unreliable source, and this does include a couple of the prophets companions. It is recommended to read Muslim and Bukhari but extremely rare to find a Shia (or any muslim for that matter) who has. Most Shia will turn to Nahgul Balagha which is a compilation of the philosophy, metaphysics, and hadith of Imam Ali.

      • Amber said,

        And see, the cleanliness thing makes a lot of sense. They didn’t have the sanitary tools that we do nowadays. Similar to the practical reasons why eating pork back in the day was a bad idea, or some of the other dietary laws. (Seriously – brain worms. *I* almost gave up pork after that one. Ewwwwwwww)

        But nowadays…not so much with the cleanliness issue.

        There are other superstitions that make less sense – entering with the left foot, exiting with the right, praying to be guarded from jinn when you enter the bathroom (do jinn live in your toilet, waiting to jump you?), asking for forgiveness when you leave the bathroom (did you do something sinful in there?). (I know, I know, it’s all ‘potty’ stuff, but those’re some of the ones that seem extra strange to me.)

        • Wrestling With Religion said,

          Believe it or not, the prohibition of pork bothered me a lot. Not because I want to eat pork – haven’t eaten it for years and don’t want to – but because I don’t see why God would make that a universal rule. Like you say it makes sense for the past due to the worms thing and lack of refrigeration. But if there really was something fundamentally harmful about pork, we would have discovered it by now. Pork is fine if cooked properly – just like chicken can kill you if not cooked properly – and chicken isn’t banned.

          As for the bathroom stuff, maybe this is all due to the psychological link between cleanliness and morality. Studies have shown people behave more morally after cleaning activities! Quite interesting actually. So maybe that’s why toilet stuff was associated with jinn and with guilt? Weird, though, I agree!

  5. hennamenna said,

    I’m a lefty too 😀
    I don’t see anything to do with being left handed as evil. I mean, it just blows my mind?!!! I’ve watched my husband move my sons spoon from left to right, his colors and etc.. I now try to make my son use his right foot first when dressing( my husband insisting)all the while feeling like a jackass-like I am giving in/believing in some stupid superstition similiar to “step on the crack, break your Mothers back”

    Sometimes I wonder what would happen if some of those who adhere so strongly to cultural rituals-who regard hadith above and beyond anything else-stopped for just a moment and brought in a little common sense to ponder why they do what they do. I bet a lot of them would have a moment where they themselves can see that some things just don’t make sense-given they are open minded and try to push aside everything that has been pounded in them- solely for the sake of the question.
    Not saying for everything, but only some of the things. Things I find difficult to swallow without laughing. I do not use my left hand as it is intended and my right for what it is intended for. I am simply not coordinated enough when it comes down to it. No matter how hard I try.

    Anyhow, I find this discussion fascinating as I was just last night getting into it with my husband about sitting while drinking. I received an email that said the hadiths reporting that it is a MUST that you sit while drinking were abbrogated. Of course he will hear noneof it-afterall, it goes against everything he was ever taught- which he never ever questioned. AND…this morning I brought up the question “how does standing/sitting while drinking have anything to do with my “salvation” My relationship with God? Whether I am to be considered a good Muslim or not? I am really at a loss. I cannot put 2+2 together and come out with Sitting while drinking=increased points=heaven?!

    I do not get it? AT ALL?!! How does it have anything to do with me the Muslim? So if I deliberately stand while drinking—is it fair to say that my “intention” is to deliberately disobey, so therefore I am a deliberate sinner and therefore and sure to be riding shotgun to hell for my deliberate disobedience to all things considered “correct” or “Godly” ?? Could I still call myself a Muslim? -if we’re talking only in a definition sense?
    I am confusing myself again 😛 I give up-for now.

    Very good post by the way.

    • LK said,

      Bravo! Yeah its weird….I must go to school with some liberal muslims they dont seem to do any of this stuff but now I’m gonna watch them LOL

      That is the whole world in general: no one seems to question what they are taught. They just do.

    • Wrestling With Religion said,

      Wow, Henna, your husband follows a lot of those traditions!
      I don’t see how it affects your relationship with God either. Maybe it was not about that, maybe it was to ward off the jinn or something like that?
      When it comes to worship rituals including ablution, I could more easily understand that there might be some deep significance to it, some way in which it connects a person to God. But when it’s more everyday things like drinking sitting or standing, I am just puzzled!

  6. aynur said,

    I just don’t get that if we were to imitate Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) every action, etc … why weren’t the hadiths collected under his supervision? Instead, they were collected much, much later.

    When my oldest was younger, she occasionally grabbed the fork/spoon with her left hand and started eating with it – my MIL freaked out. I guess her and my BIL are left-handed but they use their right hand to eat. I’m lucky in that I’m right-handed anyway and don’t have to worry about it.

    How about the turning back the prayer rug after praying … has anyone heard of that? I guess if you don’t, then Satan will pray on it (which is a good thing, if you think of it). I automatically turn it back when I’m done out of habit, or just fold it up.

    • LK said,

      Oh thats a new one! I always fold mine to keep it clean but that is a interesting superstition.

    • Wrestling With Religion said,

      Aynur – I don’t know, but even the Quran was not compiled until after his death, so…? *shrug* Maybe he reckoned they would remember just by learning and copying his actions so didn’t need to write it down.

      That one about the prayer rug is interesting! Why would Satan pray to God? Hmmm…

  7. Achelois said,

    Forget the left hand. Tell me why are thousands of Muslim boys (and sadly even girls) circumcised? There is nothing in the Quran. It is only Sunnah. When someone in my Quran class once asked if the Prophet was circumcised in childhood (so that would make it a Pagan practice) or if he was circumcised after he became Muslim (after revelations), she was turned out of the class. We never learnt the truth. The fact is no one knows the truth. But we still circumcise our boys and there are no ifs or buts about it.

    Or forget that, what about polygamy which is practiced as Sunnah by so many Muslims, especially the Salafis. Or shaving of a newborn’s head on the 7th day. Or shaving of body hair every 40 days. There is a lot that is not in the Quran but which is followed by ALL Muslims because it is Sunnah.

    Sunnah is of two types: that which you must follow, like circumcision, and that which you can ignore like eating with cutlery. Both are cultural practices but there is a lot more weight in the sunnah that is a must.

    I’m writing this in hurry. Will think about it and contribute more wisely later on 🙂

    • Wrestling With Religion said,

      Achelois – I wouldn’t be surprised if circumcision was pre-existing, since it started with Abraham – and I would imagine things that were pre-existing would have to be confirmed as a requirement (by Muhammad saying something to that effect)… but then, maybe not always. Things like the beard… did he have a beard because it was cultural, or because it was part of what he considered religion? When people grow beards because it is sunnah, are they doing it just to feel close to Muhammad, or do they believe growing a beard was a divinely inspired action that God requires men to copy? Does it depend on whether he said anything about the beard? I don’t know how it works.

      All I can see is that people do seem to find meaning in doing things like growing a beard and wearing Arab clothing items. Whether that is really part of Islam I don’t know, but it clearly is for a lot of people… and my instinct is to scoff at it, but I probably shouldn’t, if it works for them.

      • Achelois said,

        Circumcision existed much before Abraham. The oldest archeological records show ancient Egyptians circumcising their male. It started perhaps a thousand years before Abraham. This is rather interesting since the OT makes it seem like Abraham was the first male to be circumcised ever.

        The beard, he felt was a Muslim thing. Pagan had a beard and a mustache so he instructed Muslim men to grow a beard and have off the mustache to identify themselves as Muslim and different from Pagans. But interesting he started plaiting his hair like the Jews of Medina when he migrated. So he was influenced by people as well in an attempt to look different from the Pagans. Now shaving was difficult at that time and it was easier to trim the mustache than to keep a clean shaven face. There was no man without a beard. It is just so simple. Even Abou Jahal had a beard.

        “and my instinct is to scoff at it, but I probably shouldn’t, if it works for them.”

        I don’t know how rituals work for anyone. ow do they make them better human beings? How does a beard make a man a better human being? I don’t know.

        • Wrestling With Religion said,

          I love learning things from you! You just know so much!

          Recently my husband was watching a youtube video of “The Deen Show” – it was an interview with an American hip-hop artist who converted to Islam (can’t remember his name). This guy was wearing a thobe, a Palestinian style scarf around his neck, and a kufi. Spouting Arabic niceties in an African-American accent. My first reaction was “oh, so he’s become an Arab” and my husband said “no, he’s not”. I realised what I said was perhaps a bit sharp. So I watched and listened. And I thought, maybe having a new identity with all new clothes and other outward changes like that is actually helpful for some people who are trying to move from a life of sin to a more peaceful and wholesome life. It’s like the girl from “Muslim Driving School” who went from drugs to niqab almost overnight. Maybe it’s all about associations, they associate these outward things with the happy picture of their new life.

          Maybe that’s even how it was for Muhammad with the beard thing. (Not necessarily about staying away from sin, but about being firmly Muslim at least.) And the changing of the qibla, and the thing about having your own religious holidays to celebrate. And the way sacred church music throughout history was always different from secular music. It’s all about cultivating an identity, I think. It’s a psychological trick and if it does keep people away from sin, it works based on existing associations – it’s not that beards make you better in some absolute sense.

          • LK said,

            Huh I never thought about it that way but it makes sense. Maybe that is why some women cling to wearing scarves too. Its an identity thing, I know in some ways it is for me.

            We had a convert in class who sounds exactly like the man on the TV you talked about. Although he didn’t sound Arabic at all, more East Coast lol. But he used a lot of Arabic words, dressed like a Sheikh the whole thing. Even had a beard (its really weird to see a redheaded muslim dressed like this). My friend was afraid of him because she thought he was a Wahabi due to his clothing. But he seemed like just a really excited, knowledgable convert to me. If it works for him, who am I to judge?

            • Wrestling With Religion said,

              Exactly. It will be interesting to know if these people move away from that image eventually though, if they encounter a lot of extreme people. I was reading on another blog about women giving up the niqab because in their minds it had become associated with extremism and even support for terrorism.

          • Achelois said,

            Aww, thank you, Sarah! You make me think and that’s why I just LOVE your blog and you! You make me put the dots together to see a clearer picture.

            I think we all want to belong. I want to belong. And when that happens I do tend to learn and imitate the group I want to belong to. Muslims wanted to look different and feel different. The families they were born into had suddenly become the ‘jahils’, the ignorant people – backward and uncultured. To look like them and belong to them would make them look backward and ignorant too. The family suddenly became ‘they’ rather than ‘us’. Jews being ‘the’ monotheists’ could be imitated and you gave plenty of good examples of how they were followed by when the religion grew there was no need for Jewish traditions – there was the new Qibla, new holy day and festivals, new month for fasting etc.

            Very interesting!

            • Wrestling With Religion said,

              Thanks! ❤

              OK, so here are explanations for the rules in Islam that we've come up with so far (I'm an OCD list-maker! :oops:):

              • morality – for example, no backbiting and gossiping, because this hurts people
              • spiritual – for example, the ablution rituals, which may have some spiritual/mystical significance in relation to experiencing God
              • legal – punishments, and other things for running a society
              • identity – for example, the beard and the religious holidays
              • satisfying the need for rules – this would be my explanation for the “superstition” type of things, like sitting while drinking. Some people seem to want rules for every aspect of life. These rules are often explained in superstitious terms e.g. the devil will pray on your mat if you don’t fold it over.

              I’m sure there is an overlap. Superstition to me seems to pervade everything, which is why we have rules given in such minute detail. What I REALLY don’t understand is, how could such superstitious people have conquered 1/3 of the world? Would people that insecure and nit-picky have gathered and preserved knowledge from every corner of the world? It just doesn’t fit in my mind. I don’t get it.

              • LK said,

                Maybe the early Muslims were just very superstitious people? Everyone has this sort of thing. Look at the bizillion Saints and all the medals and all the interesting rituals that can go with them. My favorite is still the saint you bury upside down in front of your new house to give you happiness in your new home.

                I think people are naturally superstitious. Those that aren’t, like many here, are probably not the majority but in fact the minority. I sure don’t think Satan is going to pray on my prayer mat if I leave it open, or something bad will happen if I use my left hand. I also dont think an upside down statue will do my new house any good. But some people do, and thats cool as long as its not hurting another person.

                • Wrestling With Religion said,

                  We sure are naturally superstitious, but I don’t associate that with success. I see zealous attention to detailed rules as the person being insecure and not having the courage to use their brain. To be a successful empire, I imagine you would need a culture of courageousness and tenacity. That’s why I can’t reconcile the two.

                  But then, I suppose a lot of successful people are insecure… a lot of sports players have superstitions, and I can think of examples of highly intelligent and creative people who were plagued with insecurity and even mental disorder… such as John Nash, and Howard Hughes. So maybe it’s got nothing to do with it.

                  • LK said,

                    Oh I see what you are saying now. Yes I think some of the “life rule superstitions” as I call them may indeed have something to do with insecurity or perhaps even fear. But doing everything right handed is not going to really help you save face with God if you aren’t practicing the actions he taught you. Its not really going to make any difference. And yes, most people do not want to have to think for themselves, regardless of what religion they follow. I know a lot of Christians who think just because they are Christian they are golden and don’t have to do anything else to get to heaven. Of course, that is silly and not what the Gospel teaches at all, but that doesn’t mean some don’t believe it.

                    A lot of Arab “superstitions” seem to have to do with health. Often times I think Muhammad spoke in symbolic terms or metaphors and people took him literally. That seems to be a major problem, wanting to take everything for face value instead of looking into what the words really mean.

                    • Wrestling With Religion said,

                      “But doing everything right handed is not going to really help you save face with God if you aren’t practicing the actions he taught you.”

                      I agree, but that’s easy for us to say… I think some people really do believe being obedient in all the little details matters. I see it most often in the nit-picking over what is acceptable re hijab. Arms covered to the wrists, not a wisp of hair showing… I tend to scoff at that too, thinking what does it really matter as long as you are overall modest, but some people do think God has set detailed rules and obeying them to the letter is what’s asked of us. It’s a whole different world view from mine.

                      And yes, of course it can exist in any religion. I just can’t reconcile such an emphasis on uncritical obedience with the flourishing empire and the quest for knowledge and the creativity. I think I will have to read more about Islamic history. Maybe Aslan’s book will cover it. 🙂

    • susanne430 said,

      “Or shaving of body hair every 40 days. ”

      Ummmm, do you mean all body hair? Men and women? I didn’t know about this one…hmmm

      • Achelois said,

        Body hair meaning armpits and the ‘nether regions’ 🙂 Yes, both for men and women. I think it is a wonderful idea! Personal hygiene sometimes has to be taught, unfortunately.

  8. LK said,

    Sarah: Funny, Aslan says that the scarf actually isn’t required and the verse only applies to Muhammad’s wives because they needed extra privacy due to all the people coming in and out of his home aka the Mosque and their high status. What is required is modest dress of both sexes. The scarf is never mentioned in the Qur’an. And the word hijab actually applies to the form of dress used by royal women in Syria and Iran who did not need to work and therefore could afford to stay home (the seclusion part) and the scarf was a sign of high status.

    Now, of course, the scarf has symbolic meaning for muslim women today and helps to attain a sense of identity in the community. I do think that out of any group of women Muslim women are the most nit-picky, holier than thou I have ever met. I have learned one thing about the Ummah: As a woman you cannot do anything right, someone will always find a way to bring you down and almost 100% of the time it involves how you physically practice hijab. I will stop now, or I will start ranting LOL

    • Wrestling With Religion said,

      So this nit-picky thing could be a more recent “invention”, then, at least when it comes to the scarf? I wonder about the other stuff that’s covered in detail in hadiths, all the “XYZ invalidates prayer” kind of hadiths… I wonder if they do represent original nit-picky attitudes or if it has been mis-translated or fabricated… will have to read that book!!

      • LK said,

        Both biographies I read paint Muhammad as not so nit picky. He’d be all “you cant fast? Thats ok no big deal. You cant do it exactly the way we say? ok thats fine. Cant pay Zakat, ok we can work that out.” He seemed to be a big stickler on abolution and praying on time though. But all this “say this word this way prayer is invalid. Stand with your feet too far apart invalid. Face slightly the wrong way invalid. Not covered enough invalid. Done after this event but before this event invalid ” etc seems to be more opinion than actual fact. Given the way things were in his time I do not think he would have had time to impliment such strict rules. Plus, they are not in the Qur’an. The whole instruction of prayer isn’t even present to begin with in the Qur’an. All it says is to perform ritual prayer and worship every day. doesn’t say how.

        That is my issue though, way too many rules and levels of rules. How do you know what to do when you have such an excessive amount of rules? Too many hadiths LOL

        • Wrestling With Religion said,

          Actually I do remember that from The Messenger – he didn’t seem overly bothered about people following rules for fasting and stuff. I guess there must be different styles of hadiths. Maybe it just boils down to people remembered stuff differently when they passed on the stories. Who knows what the truth is…

  9. coolred38 said,

    A lot of muslim are too focused on the “rewards” concept to really live Islam fully. They copy the prophet in hopes of gaining reward…but generally copy him in things that really dont matter at the end of the day. When it comes to following his lead in deeper issues, like how to treat women, strangers, non muslims etc many Muslims dont give much thought to how the prophet did it. When it comes to giving charity or visiting the sick or commnity service etc..they cant be bothered…but by god they will wear “islamic” clothing…grow their beads…play with their prayer beads and make sure they utter arabic phrases that feel foreign on their tongue…just to emulate him in word…but not deed.

    btw if he was the “walking Quran”..there would be no need for God to rebuke him in the Quran and threaten him with punishment even more severe than the average Muslim if he went against Gods commands. If your the “walking Quran” it would seem like you have very little choice in life to go against anyones wishes much less Gods.

    • Wrestling With Religion said,

      Coolred – I guess it’s easier to do the mundane outward things than the challenging, inward things. I totally agree, it’s completely hypocritical to do that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: