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Ideas on How to Reform Teachings of the Islamic Re

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kalbasad View Drop Down

Joined: 16 February 2019
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    Posted: 16 February 2019 at 2:14pm

     Teachings of the Islamic religion rely on two main sources. The first source being the Muslims’ Holy Book, the Qur’an, which Muslims believe was revealed by God to the prophet. Second, the teachings of the prophet Muhammad and his actions during his lifetime, generally called the Hadith, which in English means, “the talk”.
     The Hadith is summarized in many books written by Islamic scholars at least a couple hundred years after the death of the prophet. At the time, the scholars collected all of the supposed statements and behavior of the prophet, and decided which among them were true. The problem is that the Hadith constitutes hearsay transmitted from generation to generation over a couple hundred years.
Today’s science proves that it is extremely unlikely that statements transmitted over eight generations or so during a couple hundred years would retain a reliable degree of accuracy. Add to that the fact that scholars who collected stories made their own subjective decisions as to which were reliable and which were not. Accordingly, many modern Muslim thinkers are beginning to realize that the books of the Hadith cannot be reliable at all, and so can be discarded in entirety. This is not really a problem, since all Muslims agree that the Hadith books were written by human beings, which obviously are prone to error. There is also the fact that the stories told over generations could contain huge amounts of inaccuracies or incorrect information. Therefore, if we completely discard the books of the Hadith, we will eliminate a lot of the stories that are offensive to many non-Muslims and which bring skepticism to the Muslim religion. For example, the narrative of the prophet marrying a 6-year old girl and living with her as husband and wife when she was 9-years old is not written in the Qur’an, but is written in the Hadith. The story that the prophet slept with a lady the night her father, brother, and husband were killed in a battle is also stated in the Hadith and not in the Qur’an. Many other examples of behavior that cast the Muslim religion in a negative light are written in the Hadith and not the Qur’an. Focusing only on the Qur’an and discarding the Hadith as an unreliable source frees the teachings of the Muslim religion from many stories that are damaging to the religion’s image.
The main source of the teachings of the Islamic religion should therefore be the Qur’an. Muslims believe that the Qur’an reflects the statements of God to the prophet, and therefore are absolute. But, what pretty much all Muslims agree upon is that God gave the verses to the prophet orally and not in writing. Those verses were also transmitted among disciples of the prophet and were not reduced to writings, as far as we know, until about 20 years after the death of the prophet. While 20 years is shorter than the time it took to write the Hadith, nonetheless, there is always the issue of human error in the transmittal of verses.
The Qur’an can be divided into two major parts. The verses that were revealed to the prophet when he was in Mecca, which are mostly peaceful verses. At that time, the prophet was living among a diverse population of Christians, Jews and Atheists, and the verses attempted to reconcile and make peace among all the groups. However, at some point, the prophet felt that he was no longer welcome in Mecca, and traveled north to Al-Medina. From there, skirmishes started between the tribes of Mecca and Medina tribes, which escalated to all out wars that lasted for many years. The verses that were conveyed to the prophet while at Al-Medina were of a violent nature. Unfortunately, when the Qur’an was written 20 years later, the two parts of the Qur’an were mixed together so that the verses are all intermingled with each other, without distinction as to which verse was revealed when the prophet was in Mecca versus when he was in Al-Medina.
I believe that the verses of the Qur’an should be rearranged so that the Qur’an is made of two parts: the first part being verses revealed in Mecca, and the other part verses revealed in Al-Medina. Now, if you are a Muslim who believes that the verses were spoken statements from God to the prophet, then you might assume God’s word to be the absolute truth. However, it is not possible that God would be initially peaceful, and then later change his or her mind and cause more violence and acts of war or aggression. Therefore, it seems to me that one can argue that the verses revealed at Mecca are the authentic, original, and correct verses. The verses revealed later, even if they were actually revealed by God to the prophet, were reflective of a special situation that existed during times of war, and are inapplicable to times of peace. If the Muslim religion focuses solely on the verses that were revealed to the Prophet when he was in Mecca, pretty much all of the aggressiveness and violence that is exercised today by Islamic extremists would lose its base. I think that would be good for all Muslims, as well as all mankind.

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