DryahyaTV webpage, Dr. Hasan A. Yahya is an Arab American Writer, Read his 50 books on Amazon, on Children Books, short stories in Arabic and English, sociology, politics, psychology, poetry, science, religion, Arabs and Muslims, ڡ ӡ ɡ DryahyaTV webpage,.  Thank you for visiting DryahyaTV webpage . Islam and Muslims in North America

DryahyaTVIslam Channel

Articles on Islam and Muslims

Muslims, Islamic Teachings and Thought

Hasan A yahya, Ph.D

Principles and Concepts

About Human Creations:

Humanity

Allah tells all people, that he created them, male and female, to form families, peoples, and tribes, on the basis of knowing each other, and living in peace, moral standards among them is the only measure of success. This Ayah, in fact, determines who is best on earth, namely, those who have good conduct, this does not mean Muslims or Christians, or Jews, or any other cult. It is simply, those who have high moral standards are the best on earth and in Heaven. in Al Hujurat (49: 12), Quran reads:

"O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)."

Muslims, Christians and Jews:

Believers in Quran and other believers in any other religion (Christian, Sabiah, and Jews) can be secured by Allah support if they believe in Him , the Day of Judgement, and doing good deeds. Quran reads in Al Baqarah, 2: 62:

"Those who believe (in the Qur'an) and those who follow the Jewish (Scriptures) and the Christians and the Sabians and who believe in Allah and the last day and work righteousness shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve."

Earth

The reason for Gods creation of the Earth, and the dreation of things on it or under it, are made for human beings to benefit and keep in accurate way, this was explained in Quran, (Al Kahf, 18: 7)

"That which is on earth We have made but as a glittering show for the earth, in order that We may test them--as to which of them are best in conduct."

Law and Order

"[If] anyone slays a human being-unless it be [in punishment] for murder or for spreading corruption on earth-it shall be as though he had slain all mankind; whereas, if anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind. (Al-Ma'idah, 5: 32)

The Call to believe

About the call for any religion, it should be a peaceful call for free response, yes or no, but not compulsory, in Dawah as wrongly, most Muslims believe.

"Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things." (Al-Baqara, 2: 256)

Believers and disbelievers

Religion cannot come to a holt. Quran is clear about believers and disbelievers. In Ayah 16, for example, it is obvious that the difference between believers and disbelievers is Tawheed, and those who said that God is Jesus son of Maryam are disbelievers. Quran reads:

Laqad kafara allatheena qaloo enna alllah howa almaseeh ibnu Maryama (Al-Maidah :16)

An the same Ayah was repeated by the same words in the beginning of Ayah 71,

Laqad kafara allatheena qaloo enna Allaha howa almaseeh ibhu Maryam, (Al-Maidah:71)

The same argument about Tawheed, and oneness of God, Quran explains that those who said that God is the third of three, are disbelievers, it reads:

Laqad kafara allatheena qaloo enna Allaha thalithu thalathah, (Al-Maidah :72

 

************************************

A Glance at The Arab and Muslim World

By

Hasan A. Yahya, Ph.D

Professor of Philosophy


Characteristics of Arab and Muslim Population:

In terms of population numbers, Arabs represent one seventh of the Muslims worldwide. Arabs owns three quarters of the wealth of Muslim World taking into consideration the oil producing countries. The yearly income or the GNP in the Arab countries equals three folds of the GNP in the non-Arab Muslim countries.
The following characteristics of both Muslim and Arab countries, which influence their march and progress in the ladder of civilization positively or negatively, they are:

Population Growth:
Arab countries share the Muslim countries in the population growth phenomenon. Even though it is considered to be less in the African Muslim countries than the Asian Muslim countries. It is still far from the zero growth achieved by Denmark and Sweden . In the year 2000, considering a growth increase of 2.65% percent in Arab countries, Arab population reached the 290 million figure. and projected in the year 2025 to be over 470 million. Population of the Muslims all over the world have passed the billion figure in 1985, and the 1.3 in the year 2000, and projected to be 1.6 biliion in the year 2025.

Population, Area, and density of selected Muslim countries:

Nation Population Area Density

Millions(1985) Sq/M Sq/Km(1983)

Afghanistan

14.7

250000

30

Algeria

22.2

950000

8

Bahrain

0.4

 

 

Bangladesh

101.5

55000

616

Chad

5.2

496000

4

Indonesia

168,4

736000

78

Libya

4.0

679000

2

Saudi Arabia

11.2

900000

4

Turkey

52.1

296000

58

Source: Yahya, Hasan A. Comparative Analysis of Social Change in the Muslim Nations, University of Michigan Press-Ann Arbor, 1992.P52.

Economic Indicators for some Muslim Nations (1981-83):

Nation Export Import Income

$Billions $Billions GNP$

Oil Producing Nations

Algeria (1983)

12.90

12.10

1,951

Bahrain (1982)

3.20

3.30

9,284

Kuwait (1982)

15.70

6.70

16,500

Oman (1982)

4.40

2.70

6,900

Qatar (1982)

4.5

1.90

3,500

Saudi Arabia(1981)

119.80

35.20

18,344

U.A.E (1983)

15.40

8.30

23,000

Nonoil - Producing Nations

Bangladesh

.78

.71

119

Pakistan

2.60

6.00

350

Turkey

5.70

9.20

1,000

Egypt

3.50

8.30

686

Indonesia

19.00

20.00

560

Source: Yahya, Hasan A. Comparative Analysis of Social Change in the Muslim Nations, University of Michigan Press-Ann Arbor, 1992, P.62

Recent Political Independence:

The Muslim World (including the Arabs) is considered shorter in time in independence history than the Western Nations, Their short history of independence began shortly in the first quarter of the 20th century, where the number of independent nations in 1950 was only 13 nations as shown in the following table.

Nation Year of Independence

Indonesia

1949

Pakistan

1947

Jordan

1946

Syria & Lebanon

1943

Iraq

1932

Saudi Arabia

1925

Egypt

1922

Turkey, Iran, & Afghanistan

1775

While nations with short history of independence are: Bangladesh 1971, South Yemen 1967, Seralion and Kuwait 1961, Somalia, Senegal, Mauritania, Nigeria, Chad, and Cameroon 1960, Malaysia 1957, Tunisia and Sudan 1956, and Bronai 1984.

Illiteracy Rate In the Muslim Nations:

Illiteracy is defined as knowledge of reading and writing and understanding what you write in a certain language, According to UNESCO information, nations where illiteracy until 1984, was close to 70% percent among males who are over 15 years of age. They are: Somalia 97% , North Yemen 95%, Djibouti 95%, Gambia 91%, Oman and Senegal 90%, Afghanistan 81%, Chad and Benin 88%, Pakistan, Sudan, and Nigeria 75%, And Bangladesh, Morocco, and Iraq 64-66%.

Health Status in the Muslim World:

Mortality Rate:

Health situation is measured sometimes by the number of deaths among those less than a year of age in a certain country, and sometimes added the number of deaths from adult diseases. In spite of the large number of deaths in both Arab and Muslim worlds covered under [God Knows why] passed with no specific reason. The mortality rate among children under one year is large. The number given is the mortality rate for every 1000 born child. The hypothesis says, the larger number of deaths among children in a given country, the more health situation is deteriorated in that country. In other words, the health status in certain country depends totally on the mortality rate among children less than one year.

In spite of challenges to this indicator, as a measure for health, it is considered as an accurate international measure for health status beside illiteracy. Infant mortality rate in many of the Muslim nations is more than 100 in every 1000 deaths. For example, Gabon 229, Niger 200, Mauritania 187, Afghanistan 187, Somalia 177, Morocco 150, Bangladesh 139, Libya 130, Pakistan, Tunisia and Indonesia 125, Saudi Arabia118, Benin and Iran 108 child.

There are certain other indicators agreed upon internationally, to measure health status among nations. In spite objections against these indicators. But it still the more accurate measures so far. So it is accurate until we find other more accurate indicators. From these indicators expectancy of life at birth, the number of deaths among born children, and number of physicians to the people they serve, or the number of beds in hospitals for certain number of people in the area.

Life expectancy:

This indicator means that expectations of the born child in a day to live long life according to the health level and the basic needs offerings to that born child. Life expectancy in the Muslim world is 58 years in 1985 while it was in 1965 48 years. And because of technological progress of health instruments and practice of preventive medicine and the raise of educational levels in these countries, it was 64 years in the year 2000

(From Arabic Paper Version )

Islam and Muslims in North America

In large measure, we are what our loyalties are: Loyalties to a family, to a tribe, a caste, a class, a neighborhood, a religion, a nation, an ideology, or more realistically, a combination of many of these. (Cantril, 1976, p. 15)

 

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

 

In this study, the writer examined the role of religion in formulating peoples opinions and investigated satisfaction among members of a particular religious institution. The review of related literature and research represents an attempt to draw together certain key ideas concerning factors that influence the satisfaction of Muslim organization members. Included in the first section are a discussion of Islamic beliefs and practices and a historical background of Muslims in North America . Related organizational theories are discussed in the second section, The third section covers research on life satisfaction and contextual variables. An integration of the three preceding sections concludes the chapter.

 

Islam and Muslims

 

Historical Background

 

The Muslim World today can be linked to an eagle. Its body is the Arabian peninsula (from South Yemen in the South to Turkey in the North), and its two wings represent the east Asian (from Pakistan to Indonesia) and the African Islamic nations - mostly Arabs- (from Egypt to Sierra Leone).

Whether or not this description is accurate, it is useful in dividing the Muslim nations into three Units in terms of their geographic characteristics. Later in this book, we will cover these characteristic in detail.

In terms of religion, in the last part of the sixth century, an illiterate Beduin Arab renewed what was forgotten of the religion of Abraham, Ismael, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus and created through the revelations contained in the Qurn the social rules and laws of equality, brotherhood, and justice. Muhammad (pbuh), son of Abdullah and Aminah, was the successful pioneer for social change. His qualifications were simply revelations from Allah (swt). The revealed message was called the Quran, and the new religion was named Islam, the religion of God.

Muslims, therefore, took their name from their religion and not from Muhammad, the messenger of God. Some orientalists have erroneously called Muslims Muhammadans and called Islam Muhammadanism (Bib, 1953; Goldziher, 1988,; Schacht, 1950).

 

Explaining this point further, Crag (1975) stated:

The great Arab-born monotheism of Asia and Africa is unique among faiths in being denoted by a term that is also common name. Hinduism takes its name from a land and a river, Buddhism from the meaning of a founder figure, Judaism from people, Christianity from the concept and achievement of the Messiah. Islam which is never properly called Muhammadanism differs from all of these. (p. 5)

 

 

To understand the unique role that Islam plays in the Muslims life, it is necessary to explain some important terms and principles of the Islamic Faith. The basic Islamic beliefs and practices are discussed briefly in the following section.

 

Definitions of Islamic Terms

 

The first revelations

Iqra: Read in the name of your Lord. Who made man from a clot. Read, for your most generous Lord is Who taught the use of pen, Who taught man what he did not know!

 

Allah Akbar: God is the greatest above all.

 

Quran: The collection of the laws revealed by God (SWT) to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) through the angel Gabriel Al-Rouh Al-Amin(the Honest Spirit, PBUH). It explain everything (Q 12:111), and everything is clear in it (Q 44:3); it overlooks nothing (Q 6:38).

 

Sunnah: The way of the Prophet (PBUH), his sayings, his practices, and his approved acts.

 

Halal: Legal activities as fixed in the Quran and the Sunnah, to be practiced by Muslims in their everyday lives.

 

Haram: Illegal activities as fixed in the Quran and the Sunnah, to be avoided by Muslims in their everyday lives.

 

Salah: Muslim prayer performed five times a day, individually or collectively.

 

Friday prayer: A weekly noon prayer, its condition to be performed collectively with traditional steps; otherwise it is performed as Thuhur (noon) prayer.

 

Hajj: Pilgrimage, performed once in a lifetime of every physiologically, psychologically, and financially able Muslim. The Hajj is performed by visiting the Holy Kaabah in Makkah, with special arrangements of dress and acts.

 

Seyam: Fasting (29 or 30 days) in the month of Ramadhan, when Muslims avoid food and drink from before dawn to sunset.

 

Rebaa: Charging interest without sharing profits and losses; it is prohibited by Islamic law.

 

Bidah: Innovation in the religious sense is bidah (heresy) and something generally bad. It is the opposite of the sunnah, or path, which is the way of the Prophet (PBUH) or his community of Muslims.

 

SWT: Acronym for Allah usually used after the name of Allah (SWT). Literally Subhanahu Wa Taala, meaning Praise the Lord.

 

PBUH: Acronym usually used after the mention of any of the Prophets (uhammad, Moses, Jesus, etc.,[PBUH]. PBUH reads in Arabic, Salla Allahu Alayhi Wasallam, which means Peace Be Upon Him.RAA:

 

Eman: The belief in GOD, his messengers, the Day of Judgement, and al-Qadar, (the fate), whither it was good or bad.

 

Taqwa: the highest stage of Eman

Surah: One condenced group of Ayat in one surah. The total of Suras in

Quran is 114 .

 

Ayat: Verses of the holy Quran spread in the Suras. Some are short as one letter, others extended to many lines.

 

RAA: An acronym that follows the mention of the Prophets companions and family; it literally reads Radhia Allah Anhum, meaning Allah is pleased with them.

 

Other Islamic Concepts

Trust

Trust God but tie your camel first.

The World

Treat the world as I do, like abir sabeel, (a stranger passing through), like a horseman stops in a tree shade for a short time, and then moves on.

Objects

It is your attachment to objects, you become subjective, which makes you blind and deaf, for the lack of using reason .

Sleep

Sleep is brother of death.

Reflection

The faithful are mirrors, one to the other.

Women

Women are the twin halves of men.

Wives

A virtuous wife -saliha- is the best treasure any man can have.

Oppression

When oppression exists, even the bird dies in its nest.

Love

Do you think you love your creator? Love your fellow-creature first.

Distribution

God is who gives: I am only a distributor.

Helping others

I order you to assist any oppressed person, whether he is a Muslim or not.

Monkishness

No monkery in Islam la rahbaniyyata fil Islam.

Cursing

You ask me to curse unbelievers, but I was not sent to curse.

Teaching

One hours teaching is better than a whole night of prayer.

Day and Night

The night is long: do not shorten it by sleep. The day is fair: do not darken it with wrongdoing.

Humility attawadu

Humility and courtesy are themselves a part of piety.

Envy al-hasad

Envy devours good deeds, as a fire devours fuel.

The learned

Whoever honors the learned, honors me.

Poverty

My poverty is my pride.

Death

Die before your death.

The Tongue

A man slips with his tongue more than with his feet.

Desire

Desire not the world, and God will love you. Desire not what others have, and they will love you.

Pride and Generosity

Pride in ancestry is really a property-interest. Generosity is a variety of piety.

The story of Khalil, generosity and giving by choice are for favor return.

Practice

Who are the learned? Those who put into practice what they knew.

Kindness

Whoever has no kindness has no faith.

Princes and Scholars

The best of princes is one who visits the wise. The worst of scholars is one who visits princes.

Anger

You ask for a piece of advice. I tell you: Dont get angry. He is strong who can withhold anger.

The Judge

A man appointed to be a judge has been killed without a knife.

Struggle

The holy warrior is him who struggles with himself.

Ink and Blood free speech-human rights

The ink of the learned is holier than the blood of the martyr.

Contemplation taammul

An hour contemplation is better than a years worship.

Understanding

Speak to everyone in accordance with his degree of understanding.

Food by araq il jabeen.

No body has eaten better food than that won by his own labor.

Work

I am a worker.

Accusations

(man ittaham shakhsan fi jareemah he will commit it later.

Anyone reviling a brother for a sin will not himself die before committing it.

Paradise

I will send surety for paradise if you save yourselves from six things:telling untruth, violating promises, dishonoring trust, being unchaste in thought and act, striking the first blow, taking what is bad and unlawful.

Tasks-alwajibat

Whoever makes all his tasks, God will help him in his other concerns.

Poetry

In some poetry there is a wisdom.

Lies, promises, trust

He is not of mine who lies, breaks a promise or fail in his trust.

Thoughts

Good thoughts are part of worship.

Vision of the Faithful

The Faithful see with the light of God.

Some behavior

I am like a man who has lighted a fire, and all the creeping things have rushed to burn themselves in it.

The Quran

The Quran has been revealed in seven forms. Each verse has inner and outer meaning.

Obligation to learn

The pursuit of knowledge is obligatory on every Muslim.

The Young in Paradise

Old women will not enter Paradise: they will be made young and beautiful first.

A Journey

On a journey, the leader of the group is their servant. Kabir alqawm khadimuhum.

Recognition

Souls which recognize one another congregate together. Those which do not, argue with one another.

Truth qawl il haq is much more than fighting in a battle.

Speaking the truth to the unjust is the best of holy wars.

Knowledge utlob il ilm walaw fis sseen.

Journey even as far as China seeking knowledge.

 

Adalah and Mercy:

If a person starts a good tradition in Islam, he will be rewarded for so doing to the extent of the rewards of those who copy him. Without their own reward being in anyway reduced. And whoever established a bad precedent in Islm will bear the burden of it and all who follow it. Without their own burdens being reduced in any way.

 

Knowledge is like a heavy rain falling upon the earth. One part of the earth received the rain, and from that nourishment, and what was in the earth produced plants and life. Another patch of ground, not far away, took the water and collected it, making it available for mankind to drink. A third area of the earth neither accepted the rainwater to keep it, nor did it absorb it to produce herbage.

 

In the first stage, the ground takes and also gives. In the 2nd it takes and gives but without using it. In the 3rd, the land is unaffected by the rain, it neither takes nor uses, nor does it give.

 

During the Flight to Medina, we were hiding in the cave that day when the searching soldiers came straight towards the entrance. I said to the Prophet, O Messenger of Allah! If they look this way (under their feet, we were lost. He answered at once:do you think then that we are only two, Abu Bakr? A Third is with us: we will be saved.

 

Qureshite searchers stepped to the caves mouth and were about to enter. Then we heard one say, to another: They cannot be in here. See, there is an extensive spiders web spun across the entrance. They would have had to break it, entering. They passed on, swearing to hunt us down and kill us. But we were saved. We continued the hard journey northward across the desert. Abu Bakr reports

The last words I had from the messenger were: treat people will, Muath.(Muath bin Jabal)

I have never seen anyone smiled more than the messenger of Allah.(abdulla bin

Harith)

 

I never saw anyone more kind to children than the messenger of God.(Anas bin Malik)

 

Islamic Beliefs and Practices

 

Some fundamentals of the Islamic belief are explained in this sction to help understand the group under investigation in this study. Islam means the act of submitting or resigning oneself to God. A Muslim is one who submits himself to one God, Allah. The basic belief of Muslims is to witness Allah as only God and Muhammad as the apostle of Allah.

 

The six articles of faith, as revealed in the Quran, are as follows: belief in Allah, His angels, His apostles, the Day of Judgement, and His predestination of good and evil. Five obligatory practices are mentioned generally in the Quran and explained specifically in the Sunnah, the written words and actions of Muhammad. These practices are:

1.   Shahadah (recital of the creed): There is no God but (one) God (Allah), and Muhammad is the messenger of God. This linguistic symbol is used in each of the five prayer calls by Muathen (who call the believers to prayer) before prayer time. The place of prayer is usually the mosque or any other dry place considered legal by the Sunnah for performing prayers.

2.   Salah (prayer): The Muslim must pray at five specific times: before sunrise, at noon, early afternoon, sunset, and before bedtime. In praying, the Muslim faces the Holy Kaabah in Makkah. While prayer in the mosque is encouraged, the Muslim can pray wherever he is. An exception is the Friday prayer, which is usually performed in a group, with special arrangements of religious speech and prayer. Prayer and alms are mentioned together several times in the Quran as good deeds to obtain Gods approval.

3.   Zakah (paying alms): Each Muslim contributes (according to Islamic law) to help other Muslims. Almsgiving is usually devoted to the poor, the needy, the deptor, the traveler, and the official alms collectors. Nowadays, with the absence of an Islamic state, alms are left to the conscience of individual Muslims.

4.   Seyam or Sawm (fasting): During Ramadhan, 29 or 30 days of the ninth Arabic month, adult Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. At this time no food or drink may be taken. The fast usually ends with Eid al-Fitr, one of the two major Muslim festivals.

5.   Hajj (pilgrimage) to Makka: Every Muslim , circumstances permitting, is obliged to perform the Hajj once in a lifetime. The pilgrimage begins two months After Ramadhan and lasts three days.

 

An individual is considered a true Muslim or believer if he/she follows the above practices in everyday life and follows the rules of Allah and His Prophet, as written in the Quran and Sunnah.

 

Historical Background of Muslims

in North America

Hasan A. Yahya, Ph.D

Professor of Philosophy

 

In 1955, Italy celebrated the five hundred anniversary of Columbuss birth. A fair displayed his belongings, which included an Arabic book by Al-Sharif al-Idrisi, an Arab Muslim geographer, which is said to be what inspired Columbus to seek the New World. The first nation in the world officially to recognize United States independence was Morocco, an Arab country, in 1787 (Mehdi, 1978)

 

Oman was the first Arab Muslim nation to have trade relations with the United States government; a trade treaty was signed by Sayyed Said and the United States in 1834. An Omani ship arrived in New York in 1940 to deliver the first cargo of goods (Mehdi, 1983).

 

The first African Muslim group came to the United States in 1717. Religious words such as Allah and Muhammad were circulated among the Arabic-speaking slaves, and a refusal to eat pork was identified with specific names like Omar, Ben Ali, and Ibn Said (Mehdi, 1978)

 

In 1856, five Muslims (two Turks and three Arabs) came to the United States to care for a cargo of 33 camels brought from Arabia to serve the nationss army in the Southeast. One of these Arabs became well-known by the nickname Hadji Ali, which later became HI Jolly (Makdisi, 1959; Mehdi, 1969, 1983).

 

The literature on Muslims in North America showed that beginning of Islam was made in 1887 by an American convert, Muhammad Alexander Russell Webb. The American Consul in Manila, who embraced Islam and established an office in New York City called the Oriental Publishing Company. In 1893, the first issue of Muslim World appeared (Makdisi, 1959).

 

Ross, North Dakota, is the earliest recorded place where Muslims organized for communal prayer in private homes before a mosque was built in 1920 (Mehdi, 1978). The group later was completely integrated in the host society, and in 1948 the mosque was abandoned. The first recorded attempt to build a mosque in America was made in Highland Park, Michigan, 1n 1919. Latter became a church (El-Kholi, 1966).

The mosque that was built in 1924 and still exists today was built in Michigan City, Indiana. Other mosques were built later in such areas as Detroit, Michigan (1922); Cedar Rapids, Iowa (1934), known as the mother mosque (Mehdi, 1978); Washington, D. C. (1952); Toledo, Ohio (1955); and East Lansing, Michigan (1979)

 

On the local level, Muslim associations and organizations were established in many places. For example, an Islamic association was established in Highland Park in 1919. Another association, the young Mens Muslim Association, was established in Brooklyn in 1923 (Haddad, 1983).

 

On the national level, the Federation of Islamic Associations (FIA) was established in the United States and Canada by the efforts of Abdullah Ingram of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, through a personal request to president Eisenhower in 1952. The wave of Arab nationalism led to the creation of the Organization of Arab Students (OAS). Unlike the FIA, the OAS leaders were non-American-born Arabs and advocated nationalist and socialist objectives (Hadda, 1983). The Arab Muslim Brotherhood and non-Arab Indo-Pakistani Jamaati Islam formulated a new Association opposing the OAS objectives. On the first day of January 1983, a new organization called the Muslim Student Association of the United States and Canada (MSA) was announced (Haddad, 1983).

 

In 1982, during the twentieth annual convention of the MSA, a new name, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), was announced to integrate Muslim efforts under the organization (Al-Ummah, 1981). ISNA has the following project extensions: the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), a financial institution; the American Trust Publication (ATP); the Islamic Book Service (IBS); the International Graphics Printing Services (IGPS); and the Islamic Teaching Center (ITC). ISNA also has three professional associations: the Islamic Medical Association (IMA), the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS), and the Association of Muslim Scientists and Engineers (AMSE) (MSA, 1980).

 

The increasing number of students sent by oil-producing Arab countries to the United States and the English language used by ISNA created the need for a new organization, the Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA). Announced in 1977, this association uses the Arabic language. Leaders of MAYA deny the claim of nationalism in their association by using the Arabic language and explain that language is Islamic, not nationalistic, because it is the language of the Quran, and membership in the associations open to any individual (Arab or non-Arab) who wishes to join (Rabitatu-Asshabab Al-Muslim Al-Arabi, n.d).

 

On the international organizational level, the Muslim World League (MLA) was established in Saudi Arabia in May 1962. The league has several objectives> Its main purpose is the defense of Islam against those who seek to destroy it, and the support and development of Muslim communities around the world. To achieve its goals, the league has established several offices in many nations and in 1974 became a nongovernmental representative of the United Nations. The influence of the MLA on Muslim minorities around the world has been sound (Haddad, 1983).

Although no reliable statistics exist on the number of Muslims living in North America, estimates range from one-half million to six million, depending on the source and purpose for which the number is used (Lovell, 1973). In 1975 the consensus among Muslim leaders was that approximately three million Muslims were living in America (Haddad, 1983). Because there are more than 400 mosques and Islamic associations in the United States, it is likely that this population estimate is reliable, particularly if nonresident students and visitors are included in the figure. (p.25) In these days Muslims are much more than that figure, a Muslim authority have estimated the number of Muslims in North America (the United States and Canada) as more than ten millions, where the number of Mosques increased to pass the one thousand figure.

To live in America as a Muslim, and as an Arab does not differ much from other groups, such as Blacks, Native Americans, Hispanics, or other minority groups. They tend to follow the same trend of residency as groups, but they remained un united following their religious sects or national origins. They almost all share the agony of striving to be known as peaceful group, have certain rights and obligations toward the American Society. But still stereotyping and name calling are common even in the mass media, Films, Journals, etc., (See next), Dr. Yahyas Article about Arabs and Muslims and race relations in the United States of America, presented in a televised conference sponsored by Lansing Community College in 1991 about interfaith and race relations in the American Society.

*****************

Arabs and Race Relations

in America

Prof. Hasan A. Yahya

 

The history of race and ethnic relations in the American (U.S) society show that perfect understanding among the diverse groups of the American society is far from achieving in spite of the fact that serious attempts have been made to improve race relations. The development of minority group assimilation to the mainstream American society from Americanization through the melting pot and finally to plurality of cultures still persist in the literature of race relations. These developments varied in the volume of racism, discrimination, and stereotyping. Even though, theoretically speaking, it might be thought for a while that America is free of these practices against Native Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Jews, Women, aged people, mentally ill or disabled, gay and lesbians, and of course, Arabs. It might be thought also that for a while that all African Americans (over 30 million) belong to fancy Cosby Show family or Michael Jackson group. But reality is something else.

In this article, contributions of Arabs to world culture are described, as well as perception of Westerners in general, and Americans in particular of Arabs and Muslims as a minority group. Arabs like Jews are Semites, thats to say, their language belongs to the ethnic family of languages. Few number of scholars recognize that between the 8th and 12th centuries, while most of Eurwas in the throes of barbarism, the Arabs kept a light the flame of Western civilization. To them belongs the unique distinction of having the culture of the east as well as that of the west. From China, Arabs introduced the papers to the West, They furnished the language of science. In Mathematics, Arabs created and improved system of numerals, and developed the mathematical use of the ZERO. They made important contributions to the science of astronomy, music, alchemi, and geography. In Medicine, they classified the pulmonary circulation of the blood, distinguished between smallpox and measles, established psychological treatment to mentally ill persons, and found the curativeuses of many drugs. In Chemistry, they learn to dissolve metals to ART, Literature, Architecture, and Philosophy. They preserved many ancient manuscripts, study them and write about them. As a consequence, Arab scholars were well versed in Aristotle three centuries before the churchmen became acquanted with most of his books and philosophy. Arabs created intricate forms of versification and wrote poems of exquisit beauty. They produced numerous works of literature criticism, wrote voluminous histories, and made innumerable translations.

Above all, Arabs established one of the great religions of the world. Its unifying power is attested by the fact, that although scattered and separated by allegiance to various political states, they are in the very real sense ONE nation of Islam. With all these contributions, Arabs and Islam in the perceptions of westerners including Americans have negative meanings and almost always used with little respect and appreciation. Is there a lack of knowledge about Arabs and Muslims? Or is there a lack of interest in Arabs and Muslims? Or is there an international neglect to a great people and great religion? The British writers, Peter Mansfield in his book, The Arabs tells a story of Americans in ARAMCO schools. Students were asked some questions to test their knowledge about Arabs and Islam like: Who is the Arab? What is Islam? And Who is the Prophet Muhammad? The answer was that the Arabic is a beduin wearing a djellabia (a long piece dress), carrying an old pistol (or dagger), a camel jocky, in his way to attack his neighbors. About Islam their answers were as follows: Islam is a luck game like bridge; Islam is mysterious faith created by the KKK in the United States south. Islam is an American Masonic organization, its members wear strange dresses. About the Prophet Muhammad, the answers were no less humor, Muhammad is the author of one thousand and one night, Muhammad is an American Niger, and Muhammad has something related to mountain. Peter Mansfield commented on such answers by saying: It is obvious that these answers were indications of ignorant persons who wanted to cover up their lack of knowledge. Films produced by Hollywood almost always portray Arabs in negative terms. They are either extremely wealthy barbaric and backward, or sex maniacs. These myths can be depicted from Valentinos the Cheik through Goldie Hawns Protocole. In Lawrence of Arabia, Arabs were depicted as backward, divided, cruel, cowardly, decadent people, and back-stabbers. Many critics think that is the way most Americans still think of them.

On television entertainment, viewers are regularly treated to Patently racist caricatures of Muslims. As one put it: villains in todays TV movies are likely to be Arabs when they are not South American drug lords, inscrutable rich Asians, Nazi like Europeans or corrupt like Wall Street financiers. (Smith 1991) Some writers in the United States began show injustices practiced against Arabs and Muslims, for example, Ostrow, a free-lance writer describes these stereotypes as part of a simple shorthand to let audiences know who was in charge, who was subservient, and who was the vilian. In 1991-2, reports from the Middle East rarely treated the Arabs as people with families who worry about their childrens future or their environment. Arab deaths were discounted by the government and repeated by the media as collateral damages. The Arab point of view in many instances, was left out of the story. This may be overstatement, but this is a complaint worthy of reflection. To conclude this article, the writer is optimistic about the future of race relations in the United States, but not sure about Europe, (France, Germany, Spain, England, etc.,) Because the American public as I interacted with it, is open to new experiences, eager for information, and knowledge about other cultures especially Arabs and Muslims. It is this openness which give us the hope to communicate for more understanding among the diverse groups of the American society. American policy- makers as well as the public are more apt to deal with minority groups on the grounds of justice and human rights slogans. I believe that if these slogans were applied equally to the diverse cultures of the American society, including Arabs and Muslims, then education, awareness, interaction, and communication will increase reciprocal positive area of misconceptions. As a consequence, the area of compromising may be enlarged to give more chance for peaceful resolutions of race relations and conflict.

*************************

 

The Case of Blasphemy in History

 

A MATTER OF FREEDOM

THE CASE OF BLASPHEMY IN HISTORY

I

Blasphemy in History

Professor Hasan A. Yahya

 

If you do not like philosophy. You may stop here. This article will not be boring though, because many expatriates and religiously illiterate do not know what blasphemy is, or may be they do. So you are still reading this article to defend yourself from the unfair accusation to some, concerning the term religiously illiterate, thats good, then a little more information doesnt hurt. Or does it? While the world is taking new course in history of human civilization under the slogan of globalization, almost one humdred years ago, H. B. Bonner wrote (1912) Blasphemy varies with the temper of the age in which it is administered and of the judge who has administered it. Does freedom has limits in the case of blasphemy and apostasy? We will not answer quickly. Because the matter of freedom is not an easy one. It took too much and too many lives across history with justification of those who administer it or judge it. Some of the assumptions underlie this article are: all religions share in common principles and doctrines cherished, respected and practiced with little freedom to cut ties with it by their followers; In the age of swift reason, unfortunately, emotions lead, and therefore, control reason in many instances to the wrong decision in the so-called enlighten rational world. And those most secular nations are not less dogmatic in their doctrines than religious nations when it comes to freedom of expression as far as the attack is on OTHERS belief and practices. The western human beings as well as many Eastern societies are stripped from the power of thinking about what is right and what is wrong for themselves when it comes to freedom limitations, much of their decisions are controlled by mass media, availability of money, and overhead policy directions and above all sort of taboos of certain kind. In no way, westerners or Easterners are free in terms of destroying their value system without rational as well as irrational justified defense. Saying this, the issue of blasphemy and apostasy has taken its course in human history. In this article we will investigate the two concepts in Islam in the East, and Christianity in the West. Therefore, we will show the Islamic tradition dealing with these concepts for the purpose of lasting peace and productive normalization between religions and cultures. And show in the second part how these concepts were developed. This investigation is a part of large research project began fifteen years ago. Taking into account the hypothesis which says: Islam is the most misunderstood religion across history even-though Islam shares Christianity and Judaism perceptions in terms of blasphemy and apostasy. Generalization of misunderstanding is common among religions and cultures toward each other. This, I believe, a dogmatic cherished curse common to all religions or ideologies of the past as well as of today. Especially when they consider materialism as a supreme power and goal for political life, and do not give more than a fraction to thought to spiritualism in life (or after life). H. B. Bonner wrote in 1912 Blasphemy varies with the temper of the age in which it is administered and of the judge who has administered it . In his opinion, Orthodoxy has persecuted heresy in the last five hundred years .. it has sometimes killed the heretic, he said, but it has never killed the heresy. This article tries to investigate blasphemy in the last millennium. Blasphemy may be analyzed in terms of three concepts: opinion, manner, or place in which it was (or it will be) occurred.

Few years back, before eleven years to be sure, Salman Rushdie wrote his novel The Satanic Verses. Was it an opinion expressed? Or on the manner in which it was expressed? Or is it the place where it was written and published? Or I might add, is it the audience who was supposed to read it? To answer these questions, it is imperative to describe how Islam shares other diseased, existed or will exist ideologies in appreciating those who conform with it and punish those who oppose it. Capitalism, as well as communism have their rules concerning outsiders and those who deviate from their rules. After the defeat of communism, the United States leads the capitalist world. According to this world rules, those who conform with globalization are rewarded through the World Bank, and future dreams, and those who deviate from globalization under capitalism are doomed and punished.

Salman Rushdies novel when it was written became Triode horse for both Khumeini and his enemies (westerners or otherwise). It was used by Khumeini to attack the west, and it was used by the west NOT to attack Khumeini and Iranian Islamic republic alone, but the west found it a great opportunity to publicized his attack and legitimize it to justify that attack on Islam and Muslims any where. As a result, the primary cause of the controversy became secondary. Whether Khumeini was right or wrong in his decision and fatwa (decisions about legal matters) , and whether the West has the right to be ethnocentric and defend blasphemy for the purpose of free expression, we believe, that both sides justified their opinion religiously or politically. Similar works have been authored in the past and can be easily found in the literature, and treated differently in the history of Islam and Christianity. In my opinion, there is no one is free to jump over the law or bend it for their own interest. I believe, it is not a matter of right or wrong, but a matter of conformity to ones own system of beliefs and norms. Even in a totally free country. It is the spirit of age and space, which determine the reaction to the act rather than the act in itself. In the process of social change, things almost always change and peoples perception change accordingly to the spirit of the age and space. To illustrate, people sometimes after a number of years might accept an idea was (rejected as taboo) several years back. In terms of Islam as a religion, the rules are protected by the survival of the Quran, even-though interpretations of its verses were varied among Ulama (experts of jurisprudence) and common followers of Islam. As an ideal type of conduct it is believed that it balances both spiritual and material sides of human life. Islam remains the Mizan (balance) which control human desires and their greediness from anarchy and individualism for material possessions. The individual conformity is appreciated in group prayers. Solidarity of faithful is highly recommended in terms of brotherhood and sisterhood. On the same token, disconformity is neglected and condemned. Apostasy and blasphemy are examples of this disconformity. According to Islam, blasphemy and apostasy are deviations in most public opinions. Others may have different view. In both cases, those who claim blasphemy and apostasy are used as a means rather than as an end. Blasphemy and apostasy are considered by some as wishes of free thinkers.

 

 

II

Blasphemy in Islamic history

More than a millennium ago, a poet called Abul Alaa al-Maarri described religious followers as follows:

Hanifs are stumbling, Christians all astray,

Jews wildering, Magins far in errors way,

We mortals are composed of two great schools

Enlightened knaves or else religious fools.

Salman Rushdie may be classified under the enlightened knaves school according to Abul Alaa` verse. He, in fact, rejected all religious claims to posses the truth including Islam. While he attacked all dogmas of religions, he did not refrain from doubting that Quran was really the Word of God. Abul Alaa was considered a free thinker and materialist in his times, while Rushdie is considered as liberal, materialist and freethinker, but both writers did NOT announce that they are disbelievers (Kafirs). And both are the products of their age. No one asked them why they announce their beliefs as they did. The difference between the two writers is a millennium, but in Abul Alaa age the Muslims where in a high point of their civilization, contrary to the Western civilization which was in almost complete darkness. And in Rushdies times, The western civilization is in its highest point. And Muslims are in their lowest point of their civilization. Muslims stood anywhere on the globe, ( with different tunes among Shiahs and Sunnis) against The Satanic Verses and the author, while the Western World (Europe, Canada the United States, and Australia) strongly supported the author and considered his work as innovation of free thinker.

In Islam, blasphemy covers various areas of sin, like public insult of faith, or its founder, or ridicule its practices. Blasphemy is similar to heresy and apostasy, and these concepts are used across history to attack the intellectual Muslims who challenge Islamic doctrines. Blasphemy was condemned in Islamic courts in the 17th century, even if committed by Jews or Christians when they ridicule Jesus and Moses. Because Quran views both Prophets as over ridicule and have to be respected as Messengers from God. On the other hand, apostasy is worse than blasphemy, it means abandonment of faith or converting from one religion to another, such act is punishable by death in an Islamic state. But the question is: was that practiced by the Prophet Muhammad. This punishment is recalled in Quran and Prophet sunnah (sayings). What was the truth of acts and their judgment across Islamic history concerning apostasy ?

Apostasy constitutes a politico-religious rebellion, these politico-religious in Islam are explained as:

The sayings and doing of the Prophet, the decisions and practices of the caliph Abu Bakr, the consensus of opinion of the companions of the Prophet and all the later Muslim jurisconsults and even certain indirect verses of the Quran, all prescribe capital punishment for an apostasy. (cited in Rahman 1972:5)

A Muslim authority commentator, Al-Samari, in his Ahkam al-Murtadd, ) ( the judgment of apostasy, wrote in the introduction of his book,

In the book (Quran) I found sometimes al-riddah mentioned expressly and sometimes by import. I followed up the verses in the various commentaries and I arrived at the conclusion that the punishment of the apostate (which is death) is NOT to be found in the Book but finds mention in the Sunnah only. (Ibid: 9-10)

From this statement, we see that there was no mention of such penalty for apostasy in Quran, because God have postponed the punishment until later , to the Day of Judgment. Another explanation is that the door of repentance is always open, where Surat al-Tawbah (repentance) verses 11-12, show that in case of repentance from apostasy and disbelief, it reads: " translated But (even so), if they repent, establish regular prayers, and pay Zakat, they are your brethren in faith., the apostate became as any other Muslim, if he performed prayer and pays his alms dues. We can deduce that people do not repent after their death, and this what Quran means by repentance of the apostates.

The realistic stance of Quranic verses is amply illustrated in the following commandments where Islam is left to people freely to follow or reject, it is the greatness of Islam, that it gives the choice for human beings even to disobey God. Every one is responsible for his choice, whether it was good or evil. Tolerance in Islam springs from its message conveyed by Quran and its messenger. Some of these commandments as they spelled in Quran give the choice for people to be good and follow Islam, or to remain astray and face the consequences of their choice in the Day of Judgment. Examples of these commandments are:

1.       Lo! Those who believe (in Muhammads message), and those who are Jews, and Christians, and Sabeans-whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and does right-surely their reward is with their Lord and no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieves. (Quran 2:63)

" "( - 63.

2.     Of such, the reward is that on them shall be the curse of Allah and of angels and men combined Except for those who repent (Even) after that and make amends: for verily, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful (Quran 3:80-84)

" ....... " ( 3: 80- 84)

3.   There no compulsion in religion. Surely the light direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejects false deities and believes in Allah has grasped a firm handlehold which will never break. And Allah is Hearer, Knower. (Quran 2:256)

" " ( : 256).

The above Ayat have taken a large debate among Muslim Ulama and Fuqaha. It contains the charter of freedom of conscience which is not found in any other religion. Two schools can be distinguished dealing with apostasy, one is represented by Ibn al-Arabi, the other is Ibn Taymiyyah and the majority. Ibn al-Arabi in his Ahkam al-Quran declares dogmatically that to compel to the truth is part of the Faith, on the authority of Hadith, I have been commanded to fight people til they recite the declaration of faith (La ilah illa Allah :There is no god but Allah), which he considers to have been derived from the Quranic verse: And fight them until persecution is no more and religion is for Allah Alone. (al-Anfal:38; al-Baqarah:194) " " (: 38) " " ( :194)

Rahman comments on Ibn al-Arabis statement saying: the verse clearly and explicitly enjoins fighting to end religious persecution and lends no support to the theory of justfication of force even in the interest of truth. (p:20)

The opposing school is represented by Imam Ibn Taymiyyahs opinion, as summerized by Sheikh Abu Zahra of al-Azhar, Egypt. He says:

On the first question as to whether it is permissible to fight, the disbelievers on the ground of their disbelief or on that of their tyranny and transgression, the Imam refers to two schools of thought among Ulama. The first school holds that, according to Imam Malik, Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal, Imam Abu Hanifah and Others, and the majority of Ulama and Aimmah, fighting with disbelievers is allowed only if they are bent upon oppression and tyranny. From this opinion it follows that war with infidels is not permissible in any other circumstances. Consequently fighting can brestorted to as a defensive measure or in response to aggression, even if it turns out to be a case of emergency.

The second school, Abu Zahra continued to say: is of the opinion that war with the disbelievers is grounded on their disbelief. That means that fighting is obligatory because they are infidels and not because they are inclined toward tyranny. This was the creed of Imam Shafii. Therefore, under this principle, every disbeliever who has attained majority and discretion would be deserving of capital punishment. In this regard, Imam Ibn Taymiyyah considers the first opinion, viz. The opinion of the majority, to be correct and, in support of his opinion, cites authorities from Quran and Sunnah. (Rahman 1971:21-2)

These verses referred to by the Imam here are ( La Ikraha fid-Din ), no obligatory in religion (Q:2:256), which he says, is neither abrogated nor circumscribed in scope by any consideration. Other Ayat reads: fight with them (the disbelievers) until persecution is no more and religion is only for Allah. (2:194). He also reasoned that all wars of the Prophet were defensive in character. This reasoning is also adverted to by al-Zamakhshari in al-Kash-shaf, where he cites the verse if thy Lord had willed (enforce His Will), all who are in the earth would have believed together: wouldst thou compel men until they are believers? (Yunus:99) as authority sanctioning this opinion.

" "(: 99)

4.        And if they argue with thee, say (O Muahammad), I have surrendered myself completely to Allah and (so have) those who follow me. And say to those who have received the Scripture and those that are unlettered: Have you (also) surrendered If they surrender, then truly they are rightly guided, and if they turn away, then it is thy duty to convey the message (unto them). And Allah is watchful of (His) bondmen (Q:3:20)

" " ( :20)

5.        For each of you, We prescribed a Divine Law and a traced-out way. Had Allah willed He could have made you one community but (He wishes) to try you by that which He has given you. So vie with one another in good works (al-Maidah:53)

6.       The duty of the messenger is only to convey (the message). Allah knows what you proclaim and what you hide. (al-Maidah)

7.       O you who believe! You have charge of your own souls. He who goes astray cannot injure you if you are rightly guided. To Allah you will all return; and then He will inform you of what you used to do. (al-Maidah:106)

8.       The people (O Muhammad) have denied it, though it is the truth. Say, I am NOT put in charge of you. (al-Anam:67)

9.        Proofs have come unto you from your Lord, so whose sees, it is for his own good and whose is blind to his own hurt. And I am NOT a keeper over you. (al-Anam:104)

" " (:104)

10.               And if they deny thee, say: Unto me my work and unto you your work. You are innocent of what I do and I am innocent of what you do. (Yunus:41)

" "

11.               We never punish until We have sent a messenger. (Bani Israel:al-Israa:15)

" " ( : 15)

12.               Say O Muhammad, For Allahs is the final argumenthad He willed, He could have guided all of you. (al-Anam:149)

" " (:149)

13.               And most men will NOT believe even thou ardently desire (it). (Yusuf:103)

" " (: 103)

14.               Surely thou canst not guide whomsoever thou lovest: but Allah guides whosoever He pleases; and He is best aware of those who walk aright. (al-Qasas:56)

" " (: 56)

15.               Finally, Allah Says: Obey Allah and Obey His Messenger; but if you turn away the duty of Our Mesenger is ONLY to convey (the message) plainly. (al-Taghabun:12)

" " (: 12)

According to the above commandments and Ayat. Quran presents keynotes for the conduct of Muslims in war and in peace. These ayat are examples, to show the climate of tolerance and human freedom in Islam. Human life in general on this earth is an empirically oriented environment. This meaning is expressed in the Ayah which reads: And verily We shall try you till We know those of you who strive hard (for the cause of Allah) and the steadfast and till We test your record. And We will make known the (true) facts about you. (Muhammad:31)

" " (:31)

After all these examples from Quran, a question remains to be answered: does Islam as a religion of God need police protection other than Gods?

The answer will be in the next article about Apostasy in Quranic Verses for the sake of scientific truth of observation and analysis.

Apostasy In Quranic Verses

Was the death sentence made by Khumaini a decade ago legal? And has its roots in Quran? The answer to this question relative to any one who answer it. According to Quran, however, it shows that apostasy is a sin, where the sinner may be punished in the Hereafter not in his lfetime. Quran, in fact, shows that the door of repentance is always open, even to those who miss their way away from God. Let us examine these ayat which specifically deal with the issue of apostasy which far more deviant than blasphemy. The verses bearing on apostasy are dispersed throughout Quran. For example, Surat al-Baqara verse 217, reads:

And they will not cease from fighting against you til they have made you renegades from your religion, if they can. And those from among you turns back from his Faith and DIES while he is a disbeliever: such are they whose works shall be vain in this world and in the Hereafter. These are inmates of the Fire and therein they shall abide.

" " (:217)

The verse clearly shows that the punishment is not by killing, by the fact the renegade will die naturally. The punishment in the ayah for apostasy as Zamakhshari interprets the verse is deprivations of the apostate from the fruits of Islam when he DIES (not killed as a punishment) as apostate. Other commentators share Zamakhshari also are Alusi Baghdadi, al-Qasim, and al-Nasapuri. Others such as Sheikh Haqqi, in his Ruh al-Bayan, comments on the ayah by saying: This contains the warning against apostasy and in it is inducement to revert to Islam after apostasy, till the time of death. (Rahim:32). The word used, in the ayah in Arabic is yamut (dies) not killed which makes significance in interpretations. In other place God distinguishes between normal death and (death caused by) killing in the verse (3:144):

And Muhammad is but a Messenger, messengers (like him) have passed away before him. If then he dies or is killed (slain), will you turn back on your heels?

" " ( 3 :144)

This difference is clear between maata (died) and qutila (killed-slained). Still some authorities explain that the ayah demands the death of the apostate, but this interpretation is not warrant, because change of faith in Islam means change in the social and civil status in the case of marriage and property and zakat.

The second ayah concerning apostasy in Quran reads:

On the Day when (some) faces will bewhitened and (some) will be blackened, and as for those whose faces will be black, it will be said unto them: Did you disbelieve AFTER believing? Taste then the Punishment because of your disbelief. (3:106)

" " (106:3)

As we see in this ayah by reasoning, the punishment will be made by God in the Day of Judgment, not before that-in life time. The ayah clearly negates the punishment of disbelievers in Dunia (life) by people.

A third example can be found in the same sura verse 177, it reads:

Those who purchase disbelief, by the price of faith, harm Allah not at all, but theirs will be a painful doom.

" " ( 177:3)

Al-Qurtubi (a well known Muslim commentator) comments on this ayah on the authority of Ibn Abbas (one of close companions of the Prophet) that this applies to those who forsake Islam for disbelief. Rahman (1972) comments on the same subject that no mention is made anywhere of any punishment being inflicted on an apostate on the authority of this verse.

A fourth example may be found in surat al-Nisa (the Women) verse 138 which reads:

Those who believe, and disbelieve, and then, (again) believe, then disbelieve, and then increase in disbelief, Allah will never pardon them nor will He guide them to the (right) path.

This ayah is definitely and exclusively stands against the thesis that the apostate should be sentenced to death. Because the verse as we see shows repeated apostasies and reversals to faith without mentioning any punishment made by other Muslim on earth.

In con, apostasy is a sin not a crime, the crime can be punishable by the state and according to the state rules and laws, but the sin is punishable by God in the Hereafter. Quran in fact, includes a unique concept of liberty and freedom of conscience not only for Muslims but for all human race. Many other verses emphasize the same idea, the reader can see for example, al-Maidah:5; 34; 3:87-92; al-Nahl:107; al-Baqarah:118; al-Hajj:12; Muhammad:33; and al-Tahrim:10)

In Sunnah, (the saying and actions made by the Prophet-PBUH) the story of punishment for apostasy differs. For example, the hadith on death sentence for apostasy is built upon the one narrated by Ibn Abbas which says: Whosoever changes his religion, slay him. (al-Bukhari Sahih). The same hadith was narrated by al-Tabarani in his Mujamat al-Wasat, and traced to Aisha, the second Prophets wife. However, in al-Tabaranis Mujamat al-Kabir, the following sentence was added to the hadith and reads: Verily, Allah does not accept repentance from His servant who has adopted disbelief after having accepted Islam. This statement, as a matter of fact, contradicts previous Ayah, and therefore, considered unreliable, because what contradicts Quran from hadith is not authentic and therefore unreliable. Such contradiction follows cultural norms and laws rather than revealed laws. In this case, Quran statements are the reliable ones. As the Prophet (PBUH) said: whatever contradicts Quran in my sayings (Or thought as it was my saying) take what Quran says. This rule was in fact, practiced as aprinciple guide by al-Bukhari in his methodology of collecting Hadiths in his Sahih.

Another example, Abdullah Ibn Masud narrated that the Prophet said: It is not lawful to shed the blood of a person professing Islam, who testifies that there is no god but Allah and that I am the messenger of Allah, except in three cases: life for life, or a married person guilty of adultry or a person who separates from his faith and deserts his community. (in al-Bukhari and al-Tirmidi). As we see here, the shed of blood of a person is a penalty for the one who kills other person, or commits adultery, or (separates himself from the faith and desert the community) the last condition means the deviation from rules of Islam as religious community.

In Kitab al-Diyat, al-Bukhari records another version of the hadith by saying: The messenger did not put to death anyone by way of hadd (prescribed punishment), except for one of three antecedents: a person who commits murder of his own freewill shall be killed, (so also) a person who commits fornication after marriage or a person who fights Allah and his Messenger and becomes an apostate from Islam. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. II, p. 1019). This hadith also, has other version traced to Uthman, the fourth Khalifah and recorded in al-NasaI Sunan and in Abu Dawud. In Abu Dawuds version, this sentence was added: who fights Allah and His Messenger and he will be killed or crucified or banished from the land (where he leaves to another community) This statements closer to the ayah 35 in Surat al-Maidah.

III

Balsphemy and heresy in the West

While the purpose of this article is not to record all incidents of blasphemy in the Western history, it will give some examples in terms of the development of punishment for the crime. Blasphemy or Apostasy in the West has a long history goes back to the twelfth century. England was the cradle of punishment for blasphemous acts. Because the law of England as it was considered was the law of God. Any one opinion contradicts with the law of God (or the law of England for that matter) was sentenced and persecuted by burning in the twelfth century. In later years, however, this act was punishable by imprisonment and fine. And finally, it becomes common or a way of life for many westerners by the name of freedom. Which nonetheless, distinguishes the spirit of electronic and technological (globalization) age.

It began in 1378 with the persecution of Wycliffe and the Lollard in George 11th rule. In 1400 Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury, called for establishing the Statute of Heretics, where the heretic could be taken to a high place before the people and to be burnt. Justification of this action was that such punishment might bring fear in the minds of others. In the same year, a disciple of Wycliffe called William Sawtre, was burned one week before the clergy Act was passed.

In 1410, another man, a tailor named John Badby, was brought to justice before the Archbishop, he persisted in his heresy. He was burned in the presence of Prince of Wales. The chain of persecution follows. Persecution and burning continued under Henry the 5th. And Henry the 6th. For example, 38 persons were hanged and burned in 1414. John Klaydon and Richard Turmyn were burned in 1415; in 1422 William Taylor, was burned, he was a priest; in 1438 John Gardiner was burned; (Stubbs, Vol. III)

Across Christian history, hundreds of people were executed and persecuted by the name of the church, because there were almost always isolated heretics. Some of the leaders of Western thought where on the line of punishment and imprisonment, Thomas Hobbes in 1666, Richard Carlile in 1818, James Watson in 1823, to name a few.

Blasphemy is a misdemeanor at Common Law punishable by fine and imprisonment without hard labor. It consists of:

Scoffingly or irreverently ridiculing or impugning the doctrine of the Christian faith; or in uttering or publishing contumelious reproaches of Jesus Christ; or; in profane scoffing at the Holy Scriptures; or exposing any part thereof to contempt or ridicule. (Laws of England, Vol. 9. Page 530, section 1070)

Blasphemy in abstract is any denial of the truth of religions or their principles in general or of the existence of God. In the Statute of William III, against blasphemy, is described by Lord Chief Justice Coleridge as a ferocious and inhuman Act. William III law was an Act for the more effectual oppressing blasphemy and profanes, it begins with:

Whereas many persons have of late years openly avowed and published many blasphemous and impious opinions contrary to the doctrine and the principles of the Christian religion, greatly tending to the dishonor of Almighty God, and may prove destructive to the peace and welfare of this Kingdom. Such person or persons for the first offence shall be adjudged incapable and disabled in law to have enjoy any office to be a guardian of any child shall suffer imprisonment for the space of three years . (Bonner, Penalties Upon Opinion, 1912:19-22)

In 1726, Thomas Woolston, a man of learning and piety, became a deist, he published a book titled: Six Discourses on the Miracles, in which he held up the miracles to ridicule, 30,000 copies were sold, and 60 pamphlets were written in reply. In 1728, the writer was tried for blasphemy, in his defense he tried, and claimed that he intended to show that the miracles were not to be taken in a literal but an allegorical sense.

In 1729, Woolston was sentenced toa one year in prison and a fine of 100 English pound. He was kept in prison until he died in 1733. (Ibid:28-29)

The case of Pains Age of Reason, still fresh even it was in the eighteenth century, millions of pains book copies were sold. In June, 1779, a poor bookseller named Williams was tried before Lord Kenyon for selling a copy . - a single copy only- of the second part of the Age of Reason. Williams was sentenced to one year imprisonment, and to be bound in his recognizance for 1,000 Pounds.

In 1812, a trial made for Daniel Isaac Eaton for blasphemy. He was a bookseller, educated at the Jesuits college, he was arrested for publishing a collection of short essays by Pain, in his third part of the Age of Reason. Eaton was convicted of having published an impious libel representing Jesus Christ as an impostor, the Christian religion as a mere fable, and those who believe in it as infidels to God. (Ibid:35) Eaton was sixty years old, he was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment.

In 1817, Richard Carlyle was arrested for publishing The Parodics on the the Booof Common Prayer. He was sent to prison for 18 weeks. In 1819, Carlyle was arrested for publishing the three parts of Pains Age of Reason, and sentenced to three years in prison. He was kept for further three more years. His wife also continues publishing the book, she was also sentenced to two years imprisonment. (as a married woman, she has no property and therefore, she was not fined). Carlyles sister was also sentenced to two years imprisonment for the same offence.

In 1822, Tunbridge was convicted for publishing a blasphemous libel, Palmers Principles of Nature. He volunteers to work in Carlyles bookstore, others such as Susannah Wright and James Watson were also convicted for 12 months in 1823 for publishing and selling Palmers Principles of Nature, and Poor Mans Guardian.

In recent modern times, religion was described as social phenomenon by Durkheim, Marx, and Bertrand Russel. Russel, in fact, denies religions completely to promote peace. He made objections to religion on the following intellectual and moral grounds. On intellectual grounds, Russel claims that there is no reason to suppose any religion as true. Because religions did not prove practical, and useful. Each one of the existent religions produces hostile attitudes to evidence, and causes people to close their minds to every fact does not suit their prejudice. On the moral grounds, this objection was that religious precepts date from a time when men were more cruel than they are and therefore, tend to perpetuate inhumanities which the moral conscience of the age would otherwise outgrow. (Ibid: 30) Russel goes far, even to reject the belief that there is God, he claims that I see no reason, therefore, to believe in any sort of God. (p. 31)

In conclusion, blasphemy existed a long time ago, but does blasphemy means the same meaning among all people especially with the fact that people differ in their socio-economic and political backgrounds and in all changing times? The answer is, simply, negative. But what can be sure is that no human being has the right to enforce belief over other, or any one else, or to punish someone for leaving that belief or ridiculing it by death without a fair hearing and judgment. Blasphemy is highly encouraged in the West and related to what the West have accomplished in recent modern times in the field of freedom and free expression. This statement is supported by a speech made to support Rushdie against Khumeini by Wieseltier, an editor in the New Republic who quoted to say: It was blasphemy that made us free. This phenomenon is not a new one, in fact, more than one hundred years ago, and in 1889 to be exact, a bill was introduced into the House of Commons providing that after the passing of this act no criminal proceedings shall be instituted in any court against any person for schism, heresy, blasphemous libel, blasphemy at common law, or atheism, One speaker was commenting against the bill by saying: While we punish those who killed the body, the Bill would allow men to murder souls with impunity; under the law of Moses blasphemers were taken out of the camp and stoned to death. (Ibid: 96)

Today, we can repeat exactly the same words in the case of any deviation or blasphemy. Such words may be hard to work in todays world, where the material body-no doubt-is more sacred than the soul. This Bill was rejected in the House of Commons by 143 to 48. Mr. Bradlaugh who introduced the Bill commented after its failure of support, that he felt it an exceedingly depressing and distressing circumstance that the Bill should have had so little support. The Bill, however, was approved less than twenty years later by the House of Commons.

In this article, blasphemy and apostasy were described, and their development in history was reported. It began with history of the concepts as treated by ayat of Quran or traditions of the Prophet concerning punishment of blasphemous and apostate, followed by history of the concepts in the west. Especially in England. A conclusion completed the subject.

******************************************************************************************

References

Barnes, H. E., and H. Becker, Social Thought from Lore to Science (2 vols.; Heath, Boston, 1938)

Carcopino, J. Daily Life in Ancient Rome, (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1940).

Chambliss, Rollin. Social Thought : From Hammurabi to Comte, The Dryden Press, New York, 1954.

Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Aquinas,(15 vols.; Macmillan, New York, 1930).

Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Aristotle, Macmillan, New York, 1930.

Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, The Roman World, Macmillan, New York, 1930.

Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Augustine, (Macmillan, New York, 1930).

Enan, M. A., Ibn Khadun (Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, 1941).

Essawi, Charles. (trans.), An Arab Phlosophy of History, (Murray, London, 1950).

Durant, Will, The Story of Civilization (6 vols.; Simon and Schuster, New York, 1935- .

Durant, Will, The Story of Philosophy, (6 vols.; Simon and Schuster, New York, 1926).

Flinders Petrie, W. M., Social Life in Ancient Egypt (Macmillan, London,1894).

Flint, Robert., Vico (Blackwood, Edinburgh 1884).

Hitti, Philip K., History of the Arabs, (Macmillan, New York, 1951).

Ibn Khaldun, The Muquaddimah, London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1958, New York, Pantheon, 1958. (3 volumes; translated by Franz Rosenthal. (A comparative history from another time and author world.)

Kennet, R. H. , Ancient Hebrew Social Life and Custom (Oxford, London, 1933).

King, L. W., A History of the Babylonia (London: Chatto and Windus, 1915).

Kroeber, A. L., The Nature of Culture, University of Chicago Press, 1952.

Mahaffy, J. P., Social Life in Greece (Macmillan, London, 1913) .

Redfield, Robert, The Primitive World and its Transformations. Cornell U. P. 1953.

Sorokin, P. A., Social and Cultural Dynamics (American Book, New York, 1937-1941), four volumes. Revised and abridged by the author in one volume, Boston, Porter Sargent, 1957.

Sorokin, P. A., Society, Culture and Personality, New York, Harper, 1947.

Spengler, Oswald. Der Untergang des Aendlandes, 2 vols, (1920-1922).

Spengler, Oswald, The Decline of the West, London, Allen and Unwin, 1932. Translated by C. F. Atkinson. (Still despite overstatement, one of the most seminal comparative histories.)

The Chinese Classics, Translated by James Legge (8 vols., London: Trubner, 1861-1872)

Toynbee, Arnold J. Civilization on Trial, Oxford University Press, New York, 1948, PP. 150-163.

Toynbee, Arnold J. A Study of History (Oxford, 1948), 4th Impression, 5 vols,

Toynbee, Arnold J. The Prospect of Western Civilization, New York, Columbia U. P. 1949.

Taylor, A. E., Plato: The Man and His Work, (Dial Press, New York, 1927).

Wallis, Louis. Sociological Study of the Bible, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1912).

Woody, Thomas. Life and Education in Early Societies (Macmillan, New York, 1949).

Yahya, Hasan A. Qader., Comparative Analysis of Social Change in the Muslim Nations, Michigan U. P. USA, 1991. (A study of five socioeconomic areas: housing, employment, health, education, and womens participation in the labor force in two points of time 1975 and 1985)

Yahya, Hasan A. Social Sciences in the 1990s, A paper presented at the joint sociological conference (NCSA and SSS) October, 1990. Detroit: Michigan. (Abstract Publication)

Zimmerman, Carle C., Patterns of Social Change, Washington, Public Affairs Press, 1956. (Much of the essay is devoted to the contribution of Spengler, Toynbee and Sorokin toward the reshapin of the study of sociology.)

 

 

Al-Bukhari Research Methodology

Hasan A. Yahya, Ph.Ds

Professor of Philosophy

 

 

Abstract: There is almost a concensus among Muslim and non-Muslim scholars that the third century of Al-Hijrah, was the most active century for searching and investigating Islamic tradition. A large number of Muslim Ulama and Hadith Imams were driven by a deep sense of religious and social obligations to collect and preserve the Prophets (Peace Be Upon Him-PBUH) Hadith in a written form. Some of them have spent most of their lives traveling, interviewing, studying, and searching the truth about Hadith and its narrators. They applied several methods and available possible means to achieve that goal. An early landmark in this process was al-Imam al-Bukhari (d. 256/870). His book (Sahih) the genuine was the first systematic book in the field. The Islamic rules of life have been reserved in every particular in that book.

This paper is an attempt to discuss and analyze Hadith literature development through the early Islamic methodology in general, and Al-Bukhari in particular, and try to answer the question whether or not that methodology was scientific in the sense of contemporary research measures.

 --------------------------------------------------------------------

* The paper is prepared to be presented in the Annual Conference of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists, USA.

 

 

INTRODUCTION*

 

The strong tendency of contemporary society has been to minimize the importance of religion, and to treat it as a matter of superstition which has no place in the enlightened thinking of modern civilized man. This tendency, whether it is relatively true or not, is one of several difficulties that face researchers and investigators of religious topics. Other difficulty is the way we deal with such topics. We mean by this the method we apply to study these topics subjectively or objectively. While some scholars justifies using both approaches, each has its biases and errors which stem from researchers ideologies and credibility, in addition to time and scholarship factors. But questions might be raised, such as, can we construct religious research with the least possible error? And who will suppose to conduct that researchthe religious people or the scientists? In other words, the traditional or the nontraditional? If we try to answer these questions and support each of them, we hardly escape critics of supporters of each view. This, in our opinion, is not the way to find an agreement among advocates of both toward solid acceptable view. Researchers and scientists, we believe, agree that both views lack exhaustiveness in nature, and that what suits research methodology in one of them is not necessarily suit the other, and that also has its own credibility and characteristics. To escape subjectivity approach, this paper will not discuss the content of Hadith, instead, it will discuss the How al-Bukhari synthesized his Sahih genuine? Why Hadith was not written in the form as al-Bukhari did? Why we chose al-Bukhari for this study? And lastly, is his methodology scientific in the sense of contemporary research measures? Discussion will not be systematically handled.

Hadith Writing: Traditional leaders of faith were divided into two main directions concerning writing Hadith. One direction was supporting, while the other was opposing. Each view has its sold rule which stems from the Prophets(PBUH) sayings. This did not necessarily mean that Hadith or some Hadith was not written in the early years of Islam, or that oral Hadith was the only authority. By the passage of time, circumstances have been changed, and traditionalists feel that oral Hadith began to lose its popularity for political, religious, and social reasons. The need to protect Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) was raised as a priority and demand to face spurious and false hadiths. The unity of faith interpretation was acquired traditionists by all means to collect and writing down Hadith or what remains of it in the memories of the authentic people, in addition to Quran commentaries and interpretations.

New methods were set up in this regard for reproducing the Sunnah in most authentic manner to serve the Muslim society the Ummah of Islam and to distinguish reliable and authentic traditions from inference ones. Al-Bukhari was the landmark in this field. His work was honored and was highly respected. His book Sahih is the fruition of the traditionists efforts in the third century of al-Hijrah.

 

HADITH METHODOLOGY AND SCIENCE

Was Islamic methodology in general and Hadith in particular scientific in the contemporary research measures? To answer this question without considering time, place, and subject matter factors is arbitrary and unfair in comparative analysis. We can confidently say that the Islamic methodology was not exhaustive in nature, and that it has its own characteristics and concepts which distinguish that methodology from others. This, of course, does not mean the opposite of what is known about contemporary methodology. But it simply meansto judge fairlythat contemporary research measures are invalid to judge other methodology used one thousand years ago. Inaccuracy of these measures stems from time, place, subject matter and accumulative knowledge available for these methodologies. In the study of religion, in general, and Hadith (in our case) in particular, involves a broad framework of theoretical propositions at any given stage of its development. Religious studies tended to be under two categories, normative and positivistic thinking. The first relies on subjectivity, while the second relies on reason analysis of results or what as rationalistic approach.

Parsons, for instance, justifies using both approaches in religious research. It will be hard and inaccurate to judge Islamic methodology regarding these approaches for the above mentioned reasons. To serve the argument whether Islamic methodology is scientific or not is to define science. Science is described as a way of generating data and testing the truth of statements about events in the world of human experience.

Science has two aspects, one is a body of useful and practical knowledge and a method of obtaining it. Scientists almost emphasize and agree that science is the method of collecting data, and that every scholar has to choose the method which suits her/his study. By analogy we say that a method applied in ones research in a specific time and place might not be applicable in others research. From this discussion we might deduce supportive conclusion to the view that early Islamic methodology is scientific in the sense of collecting data methods used by Muslim scholars as al-Bukhari. Al-Bukhari was one of the leading Imams who represented the finalstage of the Hadith collection. The other stages are:

The companions of the Prophet (PBUH), or Ahab al-Suffah of Madina Mosque, such as Abu Hurayrah, Jabir b. Abdullah, the Mother of Faithful Aishah, Umar, Ali, Saad b. Ubadah, and Abdullah b. Abbas, and many others.

After the death of the Prophet (PBUH), the Quran was the method of decisions, and the Prophets (PBUH) saying which obtained wide reputation publicly.

Hadith restored to different public centers, and writing Hadith became common. The collection of Hadith by Imam Malik, Imam Hanbal and others became known.

The stage was the permanent shape, and came to have the forms of Masanid (Authorities) musannafat (classifications) according to topics. Here, where al-Bukhari belongs, we find that the traditions were collected together, the Sihah-Sittah, (The six Authentic books) are the most authentic collection representing this stage.

In his methodology al-Bukhari was reliable and authentic in collecting data in an age where people lie and falsify hadith for several reasons. It was a challenge to proof the truth. This challenge dictated and supported the method of research which will be discussed thoroughly in the following pages.

 

AL-BUKHARI AND HIS METHODOLOGY

In this section we will discuss why al-Bukhari was chosen for this study, and what was his methodology of Hadith collection, and finally, why he was considered as a pioneer in this field, and what was the impact of his work on other scholars during and after his time? With the fact that complete knowledge does not exist in man, al-Bukhari applied what he thought, the accurate measurement of obtaining solid information to be reserved in a written form against fabrication, which was the phenomenon of the time. Logically, his work will be a reflection of spurious fabricated Hadith, or a solid reaction against falsification in his period of time. The first option was and is unthinkable, for one reason that Muslim scholars and the public consider his work as the most genuine book after Quran, and the most ancient and authoritative collection. Most scholars and historians consider also, the third century as the golden age for Hadith science (figure1.) It was the shift from the four Imams of jurisprudence, and their methodology of interpreting Quran and Hadith, to a new treatment of collecting what the Prophet (PBUH) had said and did in his life.

Hijrah Years

80----------------------150 160 170 180 190 200 210 220 240 260 280 300 310

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Abu Hanifah 80 ---------------- 150 (772 A.D)

Malik 93 -----------------------------------179 (800)

Al-ShafiI 150 -------------------------------- 204 (824)

Ibn Hanbal 164 ------------------------------------ 241 (884)

Al-Darimi ------------------------------------------------- 255 (869)

Al-Bukhari 194 ------------------------------------------------256 (870)

Muslim 204 ----------------------------------------------------------261 (874)

Ibn Majah --------------------------------------------------------------------273 (885)

Abu-Daud 203 -----------------------------------------------------------------------275 (887)

Al-Tarmidi -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------279 (891)

Al-NasaI ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 303 (914)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Figure 1. Jurisdiction Imams and collectors of the tradition.

 

Al-Bukhari was an encyclopediac pious man. He spent most of his life studying or traveling for the sake of knowledge. He has a strict criteria to judge people and documents. He was enslaved to that strict methodology and neglected many genuine traditions simply because these traditions failed to commensurate with his conditions and evaluation. For his criteria, he was and still is highly respected by Muslims in all times and places. Al-Bukhari was the first to apply what we can confidently describe as scientific investigation with the least possible error. Concerning definition of methodology which is a system of explicit rules and procedures upon which research is based and against claims for knowledge are granted. Al-Bukhari applied research methods such as historical, comparative, and field research methods under a system of strict rules and procedures. What was important in this case was the impact of these methods on other scholars who used some of his conditions and methods to accept accurate data in recent years. Al-Bukhari has authored many books inhistory, culture, and Quranic commentaries. His works have been crowned by his famous Sahih.

 

Another impact of his methodology was mirrored in hundreds of exegeses which exceeds 25 volumes by later scholars such as Ibn Hajar (d. 852), Qastallani (d. 923), and others.

 

METHODOLOGY ASSUMPTIONS

The tendency of al-Bukharis work was to compile a manual of Hadith according to the wishes of his shaikh Ishaq b. Rahawayh. This was the authority to begin a long journey to look for viable and reliable content to his manual. We will cite an assumptionfor his methodology and theoretical propositions to see how al-Bukhari compiled his manual or how, if we put ourselves in his shoes, how he dealth with theoretical and methodological problems. His research proposition, we assume, will be as follows:

Proposition 1. Authentic narrators give authentic Isnad ( chain of transmitters) and Matn (the words of Hadith).

Proposition 2. Authenticity of both Isnad and Matn results authentic Hadith.

These two assumptions need to be tested in order to prove their reality or their truth. To do so, we have to have hypotheses to test on the ground of these propositions. Before doing so, we have to point out the variables used in the above propositions. The independent variable will be the authenticity of narrators, while authenticity of Hadith (Isnad and Matn) will be the dependent variable. These variables to be tested we compile the following two hypotheses:

Hypothesis 1. There is positive relationship between authenticity of narrators and authenticity of Hadith (Isnad and Matn).

Hypothesis 2. There is positive relationship between disauthenticity and Hadith falsification.

 

Insofar, we have propositions, variables, and hypotheses. What we need is to assume how al-Bukhari tested his hypotheses, or how has he collected data for his study? Figure 2. Gives both dependent as well as independent variables, To illustrate, suppose he wants to collect Hadith. This means, of course, to contact narrators of Isnad and Matn. Neither Isnad nor authenticity alone norauthenticity of Matn alone makes Hadith acceptable under the conditionsof al-Bukhari. He has prove authenticity of both in order to accept and edit Hadith in his Sahih. To prove Isnad he has to examine two sources: men and available history materials. Regarding the first, he has to ask people about the narrators, their students, and their shaikhs, about their reputation, their behavior, and their authenticity (Thiqah), then he will ask these men or women themselves about many items as if he has a questionnaire. Some of these items are constructed (see table 1.) to cover the narrators personal, professional, and public life. Such items as the name of the narrator, his fathers and mothers name, his grandfathers name, his nickname, and his tribe, his teachers and disciples, his sample of narrations and titles. In additionm he asks about his creed, journeys he made, when, why, and who were the scholars he has met, and what proof he has. These information were used to prove Isnads authenticity. The process was the same for any other informant. Otherwise, his or her Isnad will not be acceptable, and no need to check the Matn.

1. INDEP. VAR. 2. DEP. VAR.

Isnad --------------------- Matn

Men History Quran Hadith Reason (Aql)

Language HADITH SAHIH

Culture

History (Genuine)

Biographies Documents OR

(Authentic Reputation Books Hadith)

Reliability Biographies

Time

Space

Figure 2. Independent and dependent Variables.

 

 

History will be checked through documents, books, and biographies to prove or to make what he has been told was reliable and valid. He has to examine the kind of papers, ink, and the way the documents were written, and examine times and places of these writings.

 

Table 1. Information to be collected about the Narrators*

Name ------------------------------- Fathers Name ---------------------

DOB -------------------------------- Grandfathers Name ----------------

Nickname -------------------------- Job ------------------------------------

Tribe -------------------------------- Narration Time ----------------------

City/Village ------------------------ Narrations place ---------------------

His Shaikhs ------------------------ His Disciples ------------------------

--------------------------------------- -----------------------------------------

--------------------------------------- -----------------------------------------

Sample of Narrations His biography -------------------------------------

With Isnad ------------------------- Places he visited --------------------

Titles of Narrations --------------- Scholarshe Met ---------------------

--------------------------------------- -----------------------------------------

Personal Descriptions When ----------------------------------------------

Bodily ------------------------------- Where --------------------------------

Mind Condition ------------------- Evidence ------------------------------

His Creed -------------------------- Date of Death ------------------------

Neutral ----------------------------------------------------- (If not known)

Support ---------------------------- to any related event) ----------------

Against ---------------------------- ------------------------------------------

His Battles ------------------------ His Activities -------------------------

His Social Status ----------------- ------------------------------------------

His Character --------------------- Memory Conditions ----------------

______________________________________________________

* This narrator Identification Card as projected and collected by the writer from al-Bukhari methodology and several sources cited in the bibliography.

If al-Bukhari is convinced by the evidence that Isnad was authentic, we assume that he would turn to the matn to examine its authenticity. The main criteria he has, the Quran, Hadith, and Reason if Hadith was not in contradiction with Quran, it will be accepted primarily, but that was not enough. We assume for more tests that he will turn to examine the matns

 

Table 2. Hadith Concepts According to the Number of Narrators.

Narrator by One -------------------------------------------Ghareeb (Unfamiliar)

Narrated by Two ------------------------------------------Aziz (Strong)

Two to Five -----------------------------------------------Mashhur or Mustafeed (Widspread)

More than Five --------------------------------------------Mutawatir (Undoubted )

Complete Isnad --------------------------------------------Muttasil (Continuous)

One or Two Missed ----------------------------------------Munqati (Discontinuous)

Missing Isnad

At the start -------------------------------------------------Muallaq (Suspended)

At the End -------------------------------------------------Mursal (Open)

 

 

Table 3. Concepts of Fabricated Hadith According to the Rawi (the narrator)

Narrator* Narration

Known as a Lier ----------------------------------------Mawdu (Spurious)

Accused ------------------------------------------------Matrook (Suspended)

Fasiq (evil) ----------------------------------------------Mubham (Ambigious)

Ignorant -------------------------------------------------Matoon (Biased)

Innovative -----------------------------------------------Mardood (Rejected)

* For more of these concepts, see Ibn Hajar (d. 852), he classified 12 levels of narrators.

 

content. Comparing it with another Hadith, if available, and if it was not, he will examine the content linguistically, culturally, and historically. If these tests support positively the authenticity of the matn, without contradiction, it will be accepted as genuine. Al-Bukhari was fair enough to say whyhe accepted or rejected some Hadiths. He has his own technical terminology for Hadith and Musnids. (Tables 2 and 3)

CRITICISM

Several claims of Muslim and non-Muslim scholars were made about Hadith in general and al-Bukhari in particular. Despite the fact that Hadith was written in several stagesof traditionaldevelopment Schacht who was in conformity with Goldzihar work, followed Necholson and claimed that Hadith was invented in the second century without checking new developments and discoveries in the field. Schacht also claimed that HadithMatn in some points was contradictory to Quran. This claim in essentially violates the rules of collecting Hadith, which clearly emphsize that no reported saying or action of the Prophet (PBUH) is accepted as authentic and reliable (aadel) unless it was in conformity with the letter and spirit of Quran. Muslim scholars criticized al-Bukharis work, this critic was to about 80 narrators and some 100 Hadiths. The criticism showed that these Hadiths and narrators did measure up to the standard of his conditions.

 

CONCLUSION

Al-Bukharis work was not mutually exclusive. He described his work as manual, but what was not included from Hadith in his book Sahih does not mean that it was not authentic. This was emphasized by al-Bukhari himself. If al-Bukhari committed errors in his methodology, these errors would not defame his great work. Instead, they called reasons (aql) to examine these errors carefully and objectively side by side with concrete unchangeable beliefs toward the truth of Islamic legacy through the Prophets (PBUH) sayings and actions.

In conclusion, the honor for al-Bukharis work stems from the honor of his subject matter, which might draw what is called an errorof respect in contemporary research methods. This error of respect actually did not prevent al-Bukhari from rejecting many hadiths for a simple reason, such as a missing member in the chain of narrators, or lack of historical connection between narrators and their place of origin, etc., In our judgment, if the error of respect was true in al-Bukharis case, in research conceptualization, we might see thousands of Hadiths, not only 2,602 Hadiths, which are ncluded in his Sahih, and which only consists of a small proportion of less than 2 percent of what he has memorized. May Allah reward him for his great work as well as us,

 

Dr.YahyatvIslam Channel

*********************************

 

 

 

 


*****************
You are guest number

**
*****