Channel: Jamal Badawi
Series: Jamal Badawi - Muhammad
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Let me welcome you once again to
today's program Michel Ahuja 26 on Mohamed May peace be upon him Blastoise in Georgia law and our third in our segment on methodology of studying the Tierra. I'm your host the sharper image and here once again from St. Mary's University is Dr. Gemma SLA come back with
Dr. Jamal for the benefit of our viewers can we have a quick capsule of last week's program certainly
referred to start with to some of the basic methodological errors in the study of Sierra or the biography of the prophet in the writing of non Muslim writers. Some of the problems such as being too hasty in judging Islam on the basis of their emotions and background, jumping to erroneous conclusions because of superficial similarity of words or terms, and also taking some of the weakest and least authentic historical narratives in order to support their preconceived ideas and theories, even though they may contradicts with the established and authoritative narratives.
Next to that we discussed rather briefly, some of the reasons behind those mistakes and problems. And we indicated that perhaps one of the most important was the religious background of the writers,
and the kind of attitude resulting from the legacy
in terms of the Muslim Christian relationship historically, which might have colored the way they they studied the life of the Prophet. But in addition to that, there was what they called also mechanical reasons such as the lack of understanding among many of them fully of the Arabic language and its subtleties and expressions. And that the Quran and the Hadith are saying of the Prophet and all major differences in history, extended history actually are in Arabic, so that might weaken their command of the material they were analyzing, and also the neck or shortage of important references that should have been made available to them before they came up with the conclusion.
We indicated, however, that this is not something that applies to each and every one. There have been people who have already achieved a great deal of scholarship and understanding. And some orientalist were quite critical of many of the methodological errors of other orientalist. In fact, some of them like the new became Muslims, as we indicated in the previous program, and give example of the critique not only by the name, but by many others, are the entities who remained in their own religion, but they had the objectivity to admit that they have been basic methodological errors and unfairness in the treatment of the life of prophets and hunted peace be upon him, between indicate,
however, that many of those critics, you know, trying to be honest and objective as they may have been, still fell into some of those mythological errors or similar errors also, which an anger then still lingers until today, one of which is the so called negative approach,
or studying biography by negation that anything is not in the Quran that does not meet their particular theories, even though the narration might be very authentic, they rejected and they check excuse that it's not in the Quran, forgetting that the Quran is not necessarily a detailed biography of the Prophet.
The final point we discussed that equally erroneous also were those who try to interpret the Sierra or biography and life of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him using the materialistic approach. And he has, we have already given at least one example of that there were other points that could have been raised, perhaps, but the example we gave last time is essentially, again, trying to interpret the whole development
in the early days, even in the life of the Prophet of Islam as something which is only a product of circumstances rather than something that was revealed or was subject to a specific, divine plan.
No, no, I can barely up to now we've focused in on
the interpretation of
the crimes they've had up to now by non Muslims. Right actually the the idea of materialistic approach that we haven't totally finished. But yeah, that was one approach at least materialistic. Now when it comes to specifically on a bit more on the materialistic interpretation that you mentioned, they've mentioned five different areas
of criticisms that were brought out. But maybe we can focus on the materialistic interpretation of the history, and possibly give us a bit more detail on this. Okay, I already have given one in the previous program.
But a similar approach also, applying the materialistic approach has been, for example, an attempt to interpret as Dr. haniel indicates, to interpret all the dealings between the Prophet Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and the pagans.
in Makkah, as well as the Treaty of Arabia, they tried to put that on as a source of political compromise even on principle. And not surprisingly, that one writer even went as far as making guesses even of agreement that took place between the Prophet and the unbelievers that did not have any historical basis whatsoever, but simply supportive idea of this political expediency that prompted those kinds
As if it has been rather difficult for some of those writers to understand that these methods were methods of principle were a matter of creed. And that creed was not to be compromised on the on political experiences, but everything we want to put as a political expediency rather than a Prophetic Mission. Even the Thomas onroad, the man I mentioned last time, who showed some degree of objectivity, even though he had some errors in certain areas, I must say also, in fairness, that
he objected to this kind of materialistic approach in interpreting Islamic history. And actually, he admitted that Islam came as a sort of revolution against lots of things that herbs were used to.
It was a revolution not just in a political or social and economic sense. It was a revolution against their values, their ideas, which were not in conformity with the monotheistic
ethics. And as such, he admits that Islam was not a source of
a spirit of the moment type of reaction or enthusiasm against the circumstances.
So this are the might say other examples of this attitude again, of materialistic direction in interpreting the Shira. I'm not saying however, that orientalist did not contribute anything in those studies. In fact, they did that the problem, again, is that because of the basic methodological errors, in terms of the basic approach,
because of their a priori assumptions, which were erroneous To start with, they departed from objectivity, they departed from the truth. And as such, the products of any improper approach, of course, would be improper conclusions and improper analysis as well.
I'm not saying however, and I think I should be fair enough also, to indicate that this does not mean either, that all Muslim writers were absolutely right. were absolutely correct. Also, in their methodology, one has to be also fair and objective in examining their writing. In fact, they have been writings by Muslims, which were critical of Muslims, also other Muslims, whether ancient writers in the past or contemporary or relatively recent writers, they have also been verification that it's a matter that must be studied, honestly and clearly. So I'm actually very happy that we actually have brought discussion to Muslim writers itself because there were errors as as you've
already pointed out, and you'll be worthwhile. None of us talked about how criticize the non Muslims and their interpretation to focus now on Muslim writers and maybe you can start off with the ancient historians in this regard. Okay, the first of all, to begin with, and even though this point, we probably would have covered
To come back to when we start talking about the proper, hopefully approach and what are the main sources to refer to, but at this point, let me just say broadly that there is
general agreement among many scholars, including some non Muslim scholar has been that the the most ancient and most authentic sources about the burgerfi life, mission and achievement of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him are first, the Quran. It has something it's not the truth and biography but there's something about it and often has been very meticulously preserved and is one. Secondly, are the authentic center or narration about the Prophet, especially as narrated in the most authentic collections of prophetic saying or Hadees, like Bukhari Muslim and others.
As far as the historical works, or histories
excuse me, the general agreement again is that the, the Sierra, or the writings of urbanists have, which has been edited in put together by ignition.
None also assume that ignition either in a sham or administer because they're both very much related to
also another difference called public art by Ebony sound committed in San Antonio property, and referenced by an Maharaja by the name of john morarji. Written by and rocket we'll come to this later. This are, you might say, the standard, most ancient and authentic works.
Sources might say
about the life of the Prophet.
However, some of the ancient writings not very ancient, but ancient, but still,
writings that came after those earliest sources like ignition or even Assad.
They came later and added a few things, a few narratives or stories. Now, those stories could not be raised in this original and most ancient sources.
And in fact, that resulted in
science of criticism also concerning those histories, and an attempt to try and trace them and find whether they have any authenticity.
And example, are some examples I should say of those NATO differences, but still ancient, are the writings of an halaby identity that and more crazy and ignorant a theist. The difficulty here is that many of the recent
relatively recent writers, especially among non Muslims, but some Muslims as well as Dr. Helene indicate depended uncritically on those second generation a second level of sources, which were not as authenticated as the earlier ones. And that resulted in
gaps in their research. It resulted in the inclusion in their research of narratives or stories, which were rather weak
stories that belonged to a later time, but could not be traced in the original and most authentic sources.
Now, an excellent
historian, Dr. Jared Lee, first volume of his book, as I mentioned in the previous program,
I said that many of those narratives are attributed
to some of those who embraced Islam, but came from a Jewish or Christian background, there were many,
that is, in the time of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, such as people like capital, Muhammad and cabinet for the environmental survey, and so on.
And it says that
the story is narrated through those people who came from other religious faith or religious background,
in his opinion, seem to have a stamp of the biblical story.
And many actually were incorporated, he says falsely, even, and incorrectly in the history of Islam. a specific example is the story of Iranian for the three goddesses. This is an issue that we discussed in some detail in the series on the sciences of the Quran. And he conclude that the story like that, where the where there were lots of fabrication and making it which came in a much later time it cannot be traced in the original ones must be taken with a great deal of caution. So that's one source of the problem dependence on ancient but second level type of references,
but equally unauthentic he say also, and that's shared by many other scholars as well.
Are some of the exaggerations that were made about the person of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.
without support either from the Quran, from the Hadith literature, or from any other authentic source, I'm not sure if there have been something unusual about him, of course, but exaggeration, which just came from nowhere, is something that one would not accept, even though it might be complementary to the proper and honest assertion. Even a Muslim, if you believe in Islam still would have to be careful and not accepted. In fact, some of these people who might have possibly incorporated those exaggeration might thought that this is something good that they are doing. And in fact, they forgot. The greatness of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, or Jesus, peace be upon
him or any of the prophets for that matter, is not basically in the matter of mystery. It's not grounded on exaggerations or blowing things out of proportion, but in fact, in the fact that they were human beings. And in that accomplishment, indeed, God or Allah has supported many of these prophets, including Muhammad with extraordinary things, miracles, as you might call them, and that's fine, we should not interpret everything again, go to the other extreme in materialistic form. But what we're really talking about here is that there must be some confirmation there must be some check on the authenticity and validity of some of those stories. And the any exaggeration even
though it might sound positive, should be eliminated. Because indeed, it was, it was this exaggerations, that provided many of the orientalist
sufficient grounds to raise doubts, unfounded, as it may be about Islam and the prophet of Islam. And you know that in some cases, some people even used to believe that Mohammed is worshipped. And the you know that this is totally false and has no basis maybe they might have interpreted that falsely, because of some of those exaggerations about the person of the Prophet, peace be upon him. This is with respect to the, you might say, ancient, but not very much verified. References about the biography of the province. Now you've spoken about the problems that exists with some of the ancient writings of ancient writers. And again, we're talking this particular time about the most
ancient writers. But how about the more recent bibliographies that were written by Muslims, biographies that were written by Muslims themselves? Well, there are some problems also, and equally, very serious mythological problems in some of those relatively recent writings as well. And again, we have to be honest about that. He said, The, the main problem, in essence,
was not that some of those writers tried to use science, but the problem of trying to use scientism, and there's a difference. It's
it, there is a difference between saying, alright, I use a scientific approach in areas which is subject to science, that's fine, you should, you must do so.
But scientism are the belief that everything each and everything, and all sources of knowledge must be subjected to the specific methods or methodology of empirical science or thing that you can examine in the lab or things which are tangible. This is not a very scientific way of looking at it, it's false because not everything falls under the under this category. In fact, some people speak about, for example, telepathy, without necessarily being able to put their finger on it or put it in the lab or test tube. There are areas and sources of knowledge other than science, science is very important, but not everything has to be subjected to the same methodology of verification.
Dr. Mohammed Syed Ramadan invati, an excellent writer, also who wrote reference that we'll be using quite frequently here also, it's called chakra Sierra, our understanding of the variable of your Syrah, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
He says that, in the later part of the 19th century, and early 20th century,
a particular school of thought emerged among some Muslims,
among a group of people who are so much fascinated if not intimidated, in fact, by Western civilization, and the progress that the West achieved, especially talk about the late 19th century and the 20th century in the Muslim world was in the very bad state of affairs really, very in the lower app. So they were very much intimidated by this progress achieved in the West, compared to the decay of the Muslim world and somehow under this
Kind of psychological pressures, maybe to some extent, a feeling of inferiority complex lack of confidence in themselves and their heritage. They thought mistakenly, that the only way for Muslims to progress is to wholeheartedly, uncritically adopt and accept everything, Western, everything, whether it's the people's understanding society values that was beside the point, everything must be accepted wholesale, not just technology. I mean, there's no problem with I don't think technology that's fine. And that included also the approach used in the West, in the study of religion, that subjected everything in religion, not just to use rationality which is needed, but subjected
everything in religion, to the specific empirical
approach of so called science alone.
And he says that the, perhaps the most prominent example, maybe the pioneers, in that direction was a book about the life of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, as he considered to be written by a westernized mind, from a Western standpoint, and that was written by Muhammad Hussain hycon, who his book is, by the way, I should say, well written terms of his eloquence as a scholar, he is excellent, but again, it could be excellent, but under this psychological state, that might mask objectivity. Also,
his book is widespread. It was published in Arabic. I know at least one English translation made by late Dr. Ismail Araki, which was published in 1976 by the American trust publication in Indianapolis, Indiana.
In fact, the doctor and bowtie
describes the analysis suggested by Dr. Hutton, that he approached the subject or analysis, or it is an analysis which costs us zero ViewHolder and mon caches are an affiliate of Arabia with that anywhere in the Dow and nowadays, what have you, that's a very strong criticism that is living, the rough transition goes like this, that he follows or this analysis follows in meek submissiveness, there Western mentality and under the banner of what they claimed to be modern science that appears on page 10 of the translation.
Doctors in bootsy also expresses his wonder as to how
doctors are a chef Muhammad Mustafa Murali, who was the rector of Al Azhar at that time was chef of another, and another famous writers like Mohammed Harry dwsd, started to praise the book, actually, the introduction of Hamlet was in his book is written by a morality and consider that as a pioneering step in more scientific research, which shows that the same psychological problem and inferiority complex seemed to have been common among a cross section of the intelligentsia, in Egypt and other places, for that matter. I noted by the way, in reading myself the introduction by chef Maravi to hermit has in his book that he admits in the beginning, that he has only read part of the
book before it points to the present. And that shows again, the degree of cares, that should have been applied before making such kind of
backing or acceptance of that
approach. How did haikal express his approach? And what is in more specific terms? The problem with
Okay, let me first quote him, more or less to show
what kind of approach he puts for himself and perhaps as much time as time allows, we can touch a little bit also on the difficulty with that approach
on the introduction of his work,
and I'm referring here to the translation again, made by Dr. therapy,
on page 51, that's 51. In the introduction,
he says, he can, but I have resolved that this will be a scientific study developed on the western modern method developed on the western modern method, and written for the sake of truth, No, nobody, of course dispute with anyone writing for the sake of tears. But the idea here is that the western modern method, in his mind seemed to be the ultimate of any sorts of research religious or non religious, relating to Islam or none Islam, that this seems to be like the super thing and that again, seem to reflect this kind of
mentality which was common among green intellectuals, really subjugation, to the more advanced, the more progressive technologically West, that they thought that everything really is superior regardless.
In another place also, he goes on. Introduction also says about the Quran that it contains a reference to every event in the life of the Arab prophets, which can serve the investigator as a standard norm, and as a guiding light in his analysis of the report of various biographies. And the sooner that sooner that means the saying and deeds of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.
there are two difficulties with with this kind of logic. To begin with the Center for an is the standard work as if it is the
standard reference. As if the Quran is everything about Sierra is fallacious. Really, the Quran does say something about the life of Prophet, Prophet Muhammad peace be open, but it's not a book of biography. And as such, the say that you can refer to the Quran only is really fallacious. The other point, which I just mentioned, rather quickly now, and because we'll come back to it again, that there is a basic methodological error here that what hater is saying here is that his own understanding his own interpretation in the Quran, or maybe imagination as to what it means, seemed in his mind to take precedent over the authentic and authenticated cinema or the seeing and word
works of the Prophet peace be upon him, which we'll come back to. And finally, one more petition, he says, I have resolved to follow the modern science, scientific methods and to write in the style of the century and that I have taken this resolution, because it is the only proper one in the eyes of the contemporary world, the only proper one and if they consider I would say, that's fine. I mean, regarding I don't think has to be taken, then he goes on to say this being the case ancient methods are ruled out. Our prayer is that is
any ancient approach to the study of Syrah has to be ruled out to be thrown away as something which is irrelevant, not because it's not objective, not because there are some elements that are deficient, but the idea here is that it has to be thrown out altogether. These are issues that I just mentioned in brief, but I think they deserve more analysis. We want to be fair to, both to hiker and his critics. I think I might be able to come back to that. inshallah. inshallah we'll pick up on this point next week. Thank you very much for joining us here with a sound focus. As always, your questions and comments will be most appreciated. Our phone number and address will be appearing
on your screen. From all of us, I set up this Unix weekend.