Channel: Jonathan Brown
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Considered by Sunni Muslims as a second most authentic book after the Quran, Muhammad ibn Ismail al al Bahar is a collection of the prophets, sayings and traditions or Hadith. He was an esteemed station in Sunni scholasticism to discuss with me the life works and legacy of Al Buhari is Dr. Jonathan Brown. Dr. Brown is the Al Waleed bin Talal, Chair of Islamic civilization School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. His PhD title and first book was the canonization of Al Bukhari and Muslim the formation and function of the Sunni Hadith canon. Welcome Dr. Brown. Hey, how you doing? Al Buhari was born in 810. Common Era in present day it was Pakistan almost 60 years
after the Abasi revolution just after the passing of the fabled Calico Harun Rashid and the start of the fourth fitna civil war between his two sons, Amin and Al McMorran. What do we know about his social, political and cultural context? And what impact would it have on his formation? As it's gonna? Well, first of all, I'm a big fan. So I'm, I'm really honored to be on and nice to meet, you know, talk to you in person. You're doing this interview like 15 years too late. I wrote this book so long ago, I've had to go back and read reread sections are, there's nothing worse than like, realizing you're not going to be able to give a good presentation of something that you actually
wrote. But I've also been, I'm translating so him Buhari, with like, the commentary, and I'm about a ballot a halfway through the book. And so in some ways, my contact with has been this medieval Bokhari is more intimate now than it ever was, but also, but it's more like with his actual book than with, you know, the study, I did it from, you know, many years ago, but all anyway, so I'll do my best to answer your questions. In some ways, I feel like his political content, social context has no impact on him. I mean, I, I know a lot of I think a lot of people who've experienced server engaging with Islamic thought know this, which is that, in a lot of ways, these these people sort of
these, they're almost like these disembodied brains that sort of float around through time and space. They interact in this with this life of the mind and this kind of diachronic Republic of Letters where they're commenting on someone 100 years before them and another 1000 miles away, and that person is more immediate to them, then what's going on around them? I mean, in some ways, you know, you've read a book or almost any other book. I, you know, I'd say, maybe most books written by Muslim scholars, you you wouldn't actually know what their context is at all from the book. I mean, like, for example, the fatawa in India or the fatawa. Island, Giri, I mean, you read, you read this
and it you might not you, you wouldn't know it was written in India. There's some in some ways, he Pocari and his writings are extremely contextually influenced. And in a lot of ways, I think BlueCard was more contextually embedded than other authors, but in some ways, he's not at all contextually embedded. So when we think about context and the kind of you know, Western history, we think about political concepts or what was SO and SO ruler doing or not doing that stuff, I don't think matter to Buhari at all, I think had very little influence on his on his work. I think it influenced his life, but not his work. What influenced his work was the very specific theological
and legal debates going on with other Muslim scholars at the time. And so he will carry it
like reading a, I mean, I don't want to insult the book by saying this. But it's, it's almost like reading a really snarky, like hipster movie review or something like where, you know, there's all these allusions to something that just happened and some other movie reviewer who the guy doesn't like who Mayer said, but who doesn't get referred to by their name, but but anybody? So if you were if you were reading that movie review and exactly that month and exactly that year, you would know oh my god, he just went there. He just said this, he just said that, right? But if you're even a year or 10 years removed from that you're gonna be what the heck is going on here? What is he
talking about? Why is he writing this? So Sahih Bukhari is a book that if you read it, and also because other books to a lesser extent, if you read it, it's like incredible inside baseball or inside cricket or something for UK people. He's engaging in all these different debates that he never talks about explicitly, or very rarely talked about explicitly. And it's only the kind of generation of commentators after him who sort of tried in, delve into this and figure out what what is he talking about here? Why does he say this? Why does it say that? But the book is still very, very elliptical, very cryptic. So as I am, he's extremely contextually embedded. But I'd say that
conceptual embedding is a much more theological and legal debate. I know that kind of two biggest things right are starting with the least less less significant one is the debate between the adolescent melodrama Alright, so Buhari in some of his books, talks about how the Sunnah, is student at Tirmidhi in his sunnah and uses the phrase I think it's the earliest use of the phrase that anyone knows of Tirmidhi uses the phrase ALLAH SubhanA wa Juma, other people have the Sunnah and the collective. This is the group that will carry identifies with the kind of initial core of what the Hadith that later matures into and splits into the Shafi School of Law and humbly School of Law. And
so there's a debate between them and what they would and we would call it a hoorah either kind of people of opinion are rational argumentation and law. And this is associated with Kufa and of course, I will Hanifa So, this is a the one group that that he hit his school of thought his network of, of peers is opposed to and is always debating. And you see this in his so he has a very politely refers to Abu Hanifa as a certain person, I don't think he ever says I will give his name exactly. But in his another one of his books, it's a refutation of the Hanafi position on not raising your hands in prayer when you come up from bowing to raise your hands in prayer. He has a whole book
against that. And he talks about I mean, in a in a very severe language about a person I'll read you because it's really shocking, but he said it's a rebuttal of of him. This person, him who rejected raising the hands to the head before bowing in prayer, and misleads the non Arabs dodgem on this issue, turning his back on the Sunnah of the Prophet and those who have followed him. He says that this person, which is plenty for did it, quote, out of the constructive rancor of his heart, breaking with the practice of the messenger of God, disparaging what he transmitted out of arrogance and enmity for the people of the Sunnah for heretical innovation and religion has tarnished his
flesh bones and mind and made him revel in the non Arabs diluted celebration of him. This is wow so Buhari is generally very polite mashallah very polite person, him a whole lot. But this he could not constrain himself here he had to he couldn't contain himself. He gave his opinion. That's a debate over whether you raise your hands or not in prayer. And if you as you listening think, how can that be a serious debate? That's a such a silly thing. Well, two things one, Muslims take how you pray, how you worship God very, very, very seriously. And they're extremely conservative about this, because this is how God and the Prophet taught them to pray.
And second, it's not really about that specific particular issue. It's about what it means for your view on the sources of law. So for someone like Buhari, although Hanafy is would would disagree with this, and I think they have a point I don't think inquiry should have been so hostile towards this, but they, they Buhari would see this as an indication that you reject Hadith from the prophet as the most authoritative way to know what his sunnah is what his President did. So that's one thing. The big first big debate is kind of against the cufon School of Law basically, the 100 becomes the HANA phase. And the second big debate is against the Muslim rationalists, who would be referred to by
their opponents at
As my Tesla, or also Japanese, you know, generally your your listeners may know about this right? So basically, these are Muslims, who are very pious Muslims, but they believe that they believe more in in a kind of a rational God in a God that can be understood rationally and that theology and beliefs about God have to be kind of reasoned and accessible to reason. So, you know, they would believe in free will, because at least more translates would because, you know, how can God punish you for something you do or don't do, unless you have a choice, they would believe, for example, in that God is just that he's constrained by reason and justice. They believe in the ability of reason to
understand right and wrong in the world, independent of Revelation, the jammies, what would be called Japanese, although they don't refer to themselves like this. And these are the people who would be Lee, who really led the Magna the Inquisition from about 833 to 851, against what the sort of nascent Sunni community they the Japanese are really good people like Vishal motc ibn Abi dua, these people really led this effort. They were even, arguably even more rationalist. But ironically, in the sense that some of them didn't, apparently didn't believe in free will at all, like they almost had a mechanistic view of creation that like God was so rational, right or so that we can't
even think of choice in the world like it has to the world has just to kind of run mechanistically what happens is this sort of Muslim rationalist camp gets very close to the basket caliphs during the reign of moon. And toward the end of his reign, he Institute's this policy of basically bringing in Muslim scholars and asking them to say that the Quran is the created Word of God. And it seems also this is continued under his successor to some and then under his successor, and why thick, and it seems like also some of they also forced other positions on scholars like denying what's called the baddie, so denying that you would see God on the day of judgment. And from a Muslim rationalist
perspective that makes sense because the you can't think about God as something that can be seen as being in a body as being visible, like God has to be completely, cannot be talked about in an anthropomorphic way at all. And whereas the Sunnis said, you know, well, there's all these Hadith where the prophet talks about, on the Day of Judgment, you'll see God, like you're looking up at the full moon, or you'll appear before God without any barrier between you and him. So, of course, we have to remember why they're doing this. It's not just that they're trying to be jerks, although they were jerks in this case, you know, working working with the man to oppress the poor Sunni
scholars, you know, they're they're engaged in a lot of debates with other religious and philosophical traditions in the Near East, especially Christians. And if, if the Quran talks about Jesus as Kelim, I mean, the rugby right that Jesus is a word from his Lord. And if you say that God's speech is eternal, then Jesus is eternal. And so Krishna would say, I told you look, we look at Gospel of John, beginning as there was the Word and the Word was God and Word was with God. Right? So we agree with you. Jesus is eternal word of God. Right? So the my Tesla, it seems like said, no, no, the words of God are not eternal, they're created, the Koran is created. And there it
seems like that might be why they were so intent on promoting this position. But for the Sony's like, especially the teacher of Bokhari admitted, but humble, this was very alarming for two reasons. One, because they didn't believe that humans should engage in kind of speculative theology to begin with. So you shouldn't be thinking about like, oh, what's the nature of God's speech? You know, what's the nature of is it created or not created? Or what you know, is it none of that you just, God tells you what he wants you to know. And you just say it's a mountain Altona we hear and we obey. Human brains are not capable of understanding God's nature, or speculating about it. The
second reason is it. It seems like that this also really threatened the Koreans like social place. There's this one very interesting episode where this early Hanafy what testflight scholar, even a ban in the early 1800s, but he's a judge and is a case between a Muslim and a Jewish person. And that judge asks the Muslim to swear by these words in the Koran and the Jewish law.
against says, you know, I don't accept this oath because he's just swearing by this created thing you guys think the Crown has created, there's almost like this, threatening the Koreans place. And also as I will have an ashram he talks about in his works. He says, you know about a century later he says that this is really similar to saying that the crown is coated with Bashar, right, it's the word of a person, he was too close to saying that the crown was was human speech for so many sensibilities. So they really oppose this. So those are the big issues that influenced Buhari his life intellectually, and also influenced his life practically speaking, because he at various points
in his life is you know, driven from places because someone doesn't like his particular view on something like this on this on these issues of the nature of God's speech. So it really had a big impact on his life.
And ability trap traveled extensively to collect Hadith include into the Levant and Egypt and died in 870, common era in his country of birth, give our listeners an overview of his life, before we look at his works and legacy. Yeah, so Bokhari is and I know it kind of going along that same theme of, of how weird and kind of elusive context can be when you're looking at these figures. I mean, Bokhari is from Bukhara, but he's really not from there. I mean, he spends his entire almost his entire life on the road, studying and teaching and writing. So Bihar is really only a place he grows up and he goes there at the end of his life. And that's it pretty much. He's from a wealthy family,
one of his great great grandfather, something converted to Islam. He was almost certainly Zoroastrian before that.
Bokhara at the time, poured into all this stuff, Cree, writing about a century later, they were speaking Sogdian which is a rainy and language, but not Persian. Or something like Bukhari student Muslim mineral head judge from Nisha, for he would be speaking Persian. But Buhari probably like when, you know, when Buhari his mom was yelling at him and telling him, you know, to eat his porridge or whatever, she was probably yelling at him in Sogdian. In one narration of say, buhari, there is a thing where he actually uses a Persian word is extremely rare. I mean, there's the, when I say context is elusive Bucha people, I mean, these are people who are either speaking Persian or
language close to it, like Sogdian. And that's what language they yell at their kids. And they, you know, when they're stubbed their toe and curse and stuff, they curse in Sogdian. But their whole life intellectually is in Arabic, and they do not let on at all that there is anything else in the world besides Arabic language. And very, very rarely do you see them ever break into or even acknowledge Persian or any other language and so this really interesting place in one point is a recurring one, in the narration of Savani of Sahih Bukhari he says, use the word ham, ham like also or like in Persian, you know, ham, in in will ham on you know this, like this and that, but
otherwise, you just don't have any of this context. So he he grows up in Pokhara he does hydrojet 16 So he's studying obviously he learns Arabic he learns with the local scholars in Pokhara his family's a wealthy landowning family. DevCon is what they're called Persian for kind of landowners. And he, according to his secretary later on in life, he sort of support himself by rental income from property his family owned and he would get about 500 Durham's a month for about 500 silver coins a month. And I think that would be about you know, according to what I know about chick a live chicken was three Durham's. So you think you can calculate how many live chickens you can buy a
month that I mean, he could, he could live comfortably, right? So, but so he basically was able to study and do whatever you wanted in his life, in terms of he didn't have to work. Muslim, his student was also you know, he rented out shops and Nisha poor and he had like a Sharpie rented out. That's how he made his money. So he travels throughout first throughout life transaksi on on Horizont region, the major cities of Horus on ball, Marv, Nisha poor, then he goes to northern Iran to re the great commercial short of entrepreneur of re where there's a modern day Tehran, where there's a bunch of a kind of a network of very influential Hadith scholars, the Razzie clan, who had
some Razia it was a Razzie in water, which of course goes to Baghdad, that naval of the world, the center of the world where he studies with he meets in
phase with one of his main important teachers even humble I might have been humble though the center, the center of the Sunni network that time that kind of the maybe the center of gravity of the Sunni school of thought as it's coming as it's taking shape. And he studies where they've been humble he started with a with a yeah Hibben main and other major Hadith critic in Baghdad. He goes to wasit Kufa, Basra in southern Iraq and bus race studies with a famous Hadith scholar Ali Ali, even a Madine who was one of the scholars who caved in in the Inquisition. I would have caved to first day in there I would have said, Oh, I've said where do I sign but this so I, you know, but
these guys were really tough. But Ali Medina, he's one of the people who caved in but Buhari had immense respect for him. He said, I never considered myself small except in before Ali m&m Odd. This guy is a great deed scholar. He went to Mecca, obviously, for HUD, she studied with an Hamidi there, also Medina, he went to Egypt, he went to Syria, and kind of Northern Iraq as well Jazeera. Then he also goes back to Nisha poor. So he spends about five years toward the end of his life in Nisha poor, and that's where he teaches. One of the people who become his one of his most influential students, Muslim had been a head judge, and he said, Poori, and at some point, also, I'm not exactly
sure where maybe it was a nice report, he also teaches another student very close to defense who will continue his work and become very influential. Namely, I've already said Timothy, died 892 of the Common Era, who wrote the famous Sunon as well. So then, Nisha, poor, there's a one there's a really big Hadith scholar and you should coordinate Mohammed bin Yahya Dolly. And he's older than Bukhari. He dies around the same time, but He's much older than Bukhari. So he actually managed to study with some people that Bihar was not able to meet, like the Zox Unani in, in Yemen. And he, it seems like, because when you haven't figured like Buhari, there's a sacred history that arises
around him. And you kind of have to look back at the earliest sources to figure out what's the kind of what's his history before you get a lot of kind of stories spun around him. And it seems like
something happens between the holy and Bukhari. And it seems like though, only Rahim Allah Allah does not has a hard time dealing with people were being his rival and Nisha poor, he kind of turns against and drives out Buhari and he turns in dry again and against and drives out Muslim as well. Or at least doesn't drive him out but kind of alienates him from a lot of people in Nisha for the later on, he would destroy is that don't really didn't like Buhari his position on the nature of the Quran. And I should say this very quickly. So Buhari had a very reasonable position, which is that the Quran is the uncreated Word of God, which is exactly what Sony should say. But someone said,
Okay, well, when you recite the Quran, or when you write the Quran, what about the sound that comes out of your mouth or the ink on the paper? And Buhari said, Well, those are created because human actions are created. This was another sunny position, which is that a God creates people's actions. So when I lift my hand up, now God is creating that action, right. So the seem completely reasonable, right, obviously, when I say you know, Bismillah R Rahman Rahim, Al hamdu, lillahi, Rabbil Alameen. Like that the actual sound coming out of my mouth, the vibrations in the air are created. Or when I write that with a pen, the ink and the paper is graded. There was a kind of
extremist, extreme part extreme faction of the Hadith. George democracy calls them the ultra conservatives. I like the term Uber Sunnis over sendings like they had like a rock rock band or something. Like some tattoos, I don't know. They were extremely hard so they their position would end up being rejected so Buhari was actually if you go back and look in books of al Qaeda in the nine hundreds and Buhari was completely correct. This is exactly what everyone always says that the Quran is eternal, but when I recited in the world that is a created sound. They said, No, no, no, you you have to just saying that even the sound or the writing is created means you're a heretic.
And Buhari interestingly wrote a book rebutting them and in it he says, You don't understand the position of Muhammad have been humble. He's right this book of within 15 years of the death of admitted and humble and he says you know, I studied with Ahmed have been humble I can tell you you don't understand is did click med heavy the exact exactness of his position on this and he said
Basically saying you don't you don't understand what you're talking about. You're attributing all these opinions to additive and humble and that he would say this that the other and he didn't say this what I'm saying is correct. But anyway, he's driven from Nisha poor by the Li. Later on, it's because though he doesn't like his position on the, the wording of the Quran created wording of the grant, but it seems like their earlier version is that they'll be said, when I went to Mecca. I saw Bukhari and he was hanging out with a guy who believes in free will. And that was unacceptable. So then he goes to Bahara. back to his native, you know, his hometown. And the targeted me are the Emir
of the talker dynasty. dynasty, you got Khalid bin Ahmed? I think his name is he has at his court. He kind of has a coterie of Sunni Hadith scholars that who whom he's cultivated by this time the Magna is over, right so the man that doesn't affect Buhari that mana is kind of over by that by this time. So and Sunni scholars are sort of in Ascendance, the Caleb's and the local courts really want to have, you know, want to bring Sunni scholars and patronize them and enjoy their support. So this Teilhard Amir in Pokhara has a bunch of scholars that he's kind of patronizing and giving, helping them write their books and things. And he asked for clarity to give private reading of his works to
the target Amir sons, so his own sons, and Bokhari says, I don't, I don't do that kind of thing. Not going to give your kids special treatment. And he gets expelled from the city. And then there's this really moving thing that's attributed to him where he says, you know, he's on the road, you know, traveling around Horizont, he says, Doc with an audit valet, the Earth has become too narrow for me. And he sort of almost like there's no place for him anymore. And he, Paul is on the road to Samara Khan, the other great city of trans oxiana And he dies near the city in a place called Hard tank, which is now part of Samer Khan. And he's buried there and his can go visit his grave today. He's
dies in 256 or 870. The common error around 60 years old.
Buhari is best known for his sloppy collection.
Before we look at that in detail, describe to us his other works. Yeah, so Buhari is uh, you know, he actually wrote a number of works and a lot of them have survived. But unlike a lot of other scholars, like for example, Muslim, very few of his works have survived. So Bukhari when when he's in Mecca and Medina, his first writings are about collecting the sayings of companions of the Prophet. And then he starts writing a book called the terrific Kabir, which is a collection ended up being about 12,300 entries of A Biographical Dictionary of Hadith transmitters, right?
It's kind of placing them in the network of the transmission who met who narrated to who, when did someone live? What was their name, maybe some information about them, maybe rating about whether they're reliable or not. And actually, this is the book that Buhari is originally known for. So it's really only until let's say before the kind of 920s or 1930s, so 50 or 60 years after his death, he's only known for his terrific career. The first kind of written response to him by even having had some Razzie died 938. I think he wrote a robot a kind of rebuttal or criticism of that to recall it could be or that's the first book that gets talked about. He wrote another book of a large book
of Hadith of Hindi transmitters that he criticized if people were criticized Kitab the file career which has been lost, but which late which survived through at least the 1300s he wrote these rebuttals of the rebuttal about the criticisms on his position on the wording of the Koran. He wrote that rebuttal of the Hanafi position on not raising your hand and prayer in hand and prayer Hirota rebuttal of the Hanafi position that you don't have to recite the Fatiha if the man leading the prayer recites it, you don't have to recite it out loud or even mentally in your head. He also wrote a few other you wrote a small book of weakened the transmitters. So those are the, the works he's
known for. Yeah. Okay, so. So he Buhari is an incredible book. I mean, it's, it's a kind of book where you look at it and you just say, Woof, that's the reaction I have with oof, I don't I don't know. This book is too much. It's just a it's a it's a mammoth accomplishment. It's a first of all, it's huge. I mean, it's a good
You know, 1.5 times bigger than the next biggest Hadith collection of the six books. I mean, it's a, it's a really big book. And it's comprehensive in its scope. It's basically the Gospel according to Bukhari, it's the world and Islam according to Buhari, everything in it, I mean, everything. So it's got, of course, everything about Islamic law. It's got extensive discussions that Islamic theology, which by the way, you don't find in a lot of other books of let's say, the six books, you don't find a lot of theology, theological discussions. It has history. It has sections on how you transmit Hadith, it has sections, essentially on hermeneutics, legal and theological hermeneutics, it's it's
comprehensive. So the book is not actually a hadith collection, unlike, let's say, the collection of a Timothy or Mr. Mohammed have been humble, or the sorcerer, a Muslim. It's basically Bokhari his opinion on all these issues I just talked about, and the evidence he gives are the headlights. So the book is his opinions on all these things. And his opinions are expressed in the chapter titles and the sub chapter titles, which can sometimes run for a whole page, his sub chapter titles, sometimes little mini essays, where he's basically very elliptically sometimes clearly, sometimes not clearly giving you an A discussion on a certain topic where he's going to promote his position
and criticize others. And then the Hadith in the sub chapter in that bab. Those are the actual evidence. So that is the way I mean, it it is a an incredibly, it's all inspiring book, I will say this about this as all inspiring and anybody who who doesn't think that I don't care if you think this stuff is all made up, or if you think Buhari was deluded, you know, if you look at this book, and you are not incredibly impressed, then you either then you haven't really looked at it, then you're just reading like a page or something, I don't think it's possible for someone to look at this book and not be dumbstruck by the intricacy, he will narrate, oftentimes, a mostly multiple
versions of a hadith in the book at different points in the book to make different points. And the number of narrations you includes, is amazing. I mean, he will sometimes have exactly the same Hadith with exactly the same change transmission, but just change the teacher that he hears it from directly. Like he's just trying to show you the breadth of his narrations that he has, the committee has command of, I mean, it's really incredible. I should also say that this is a first book of its kind, in the sense that it was the first book that restricted itself to sahih Hadith to sound, Hadith to Hadees that the author believes had sound or only sound and reliable chains of
People might be surprised by this because they think you know, Hadith sciences and Hadith criticism is all about authenticating deeds and things like that. That's true. But until this time, no one had written a book that was the only included sahih. Hadith.
So if you look, let's say this, the most amount of ama had been humble, because teacher, it has lots of Hadith in there that are have unreliable changes transmission. Now they might be in there because they're the best thing the author could find on that topic. They might be in there because there yes, there might be a problem in the chain of transmission, but there's so many different chains of transmission for that, that sort of they sort of strengthen one another. Or maybe, you know, it's on a topic that's not super important, like some extra prayer, you can say, you know, at night time to get something specific from God. They know this is a invocation you can say or a litany. So these
were not really considered to be important issues. So but Biharis book is not like that, although he doesn't have an introduction to the book, Muslim has an introduction to his book. Buhari does not have an introduction, we only know about what he intended, from reports attributed to him and then from actually reading the book itself. But Bukhari and Muslim are the first people who write books where they say that they don't say this. But then in effect, what they're saying is, we don't care if a certain headache is important in law, we don't care if it's got a lot of other snags that strengthen it's bad, it's not bad, if it doesn't have a snap, the chain of transmission that we
think meets our standards of authenticity is not going in the book. So the the, the you know, the interesting thing about the say, Sahih Bukhari Muslim, is that if you're looking
Hang for a lot of important updates about law, just basically it's about Islamic law. You will not find them in Bihari Muslims books, they're not in there. Because those a lot of those edits are not they do not actually have. So he changed a transmission doesn't mean they're not reliable. It just means that their their reliability doesn't come from single strains of transmission. So these are the first books to do that. And this actually is a big controversy. And I think we might talk about that later, when we talk about the reception of the books. There has been continued doubts cost on how authentic the traditions recorded in Albuquerque is. So here,
what our broader considerations and premises that should be borne in mind when trying to reconcile these views and where should listeners go next to learn more about Al Bukhari and his Yeah, well, I mean, I think the first thing that which I think is very interesting, right with it, that the the first responses to Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim are negative. They're from other Hadith scholars, other Sunni scholars, especially that that network of that clan of scholars and Ray was little Razia Guatemala, Razi, even water. They are not happy with these books. They say that they're not for the reasons you might think, right? They're said about two things. They say, one, no one's done this
before. And these are conservative people. They don't do things that no one's done before. Right. They and if they just the idea, let's say of criticizing Hadji transmitters, they had to really make arguments that this was a legitimate activity.
And it wasn't like backbite against slander. So they're very conservative about, you know, they don't just start writing a new type of book because, you know, no one's done this before. It's exactly the opposite of like, you know, modern ideas of prising innovation for innovation sake, you know, the second reason is that they saw it as dangerous because they were very worried that their opponents like their like Morteza light opponents would say, Oh, you want to use this hadith in an argument against me, but I just looked at this book of sahih Hadith. And this hadith is not in there. So I don't think you all really think this hadith is reliable. So they were concerned that
Bukhari and Muslims books were going to give the impression that if a hadith was not in their books, it was not so here. And so in fact, Muslim Buhari, it's attributed to him by in the work of him an idea about 100 years later, that he said, there are lots of headaches that are so hey, they're not in my book. I didn't put everything that I think is in there. In my book, I just put the Hadith that I think are useful for my point I'm trying to make similarly Muslim actually, in his Slovenia, in his chapter on the childhood, that to share hood, the thing you say when you're seated during prayer, he says, I did not put all the Hadith I think or so he had this book, I only put the Hadith
that people have. They doesn't say who they are that they have come to consensus on as Sahai. So they really forced to defend themselves against this accusation. And it's really only maybe half a century after their deaths that that so many scholars really embrace their books, and see them as incredible accomplishments that need to be studied and, and modeled, and then kind of roll and become role models for later books. Well, I mean, there's two things that I should talk about. One is the criticism of Korean Muslim by Muslim scholars, which starts early and doesn't stop right. And the second one is, you know, how we quote unquote, we would say what's authentic and not those are
two different issues. As I said, when we talk about kind of criticism of Buhari and Muslims books, or let's just talk about Biharis book, right. The first thing to know is that Muslim scholars have always criticized these books, right? There's no they not only are they criticized early on, but they're criticized by people who admire the books, for example, it's not really who died in 381 991 of the common rooms to top the top of my head. He's a hadith scholar from George John, kind of south eastern shore of the Caspian Sea and he has, you know, he's an early scholar of Biharis works you know, he's more rationalist than Bokhara he doesn't like there's one handy thing say Bokhari, which
were Abraham is saying, you know, to God, don't humiliate me on the day of judgment by kind of punishing my father for his unbelief and for his idolatry. And it's my and he says this, this is
can't really be reliable because Abraham knew that God was going to punish his father for his polytheism and he knows that the father deserves this and it's not
He's not possible for him to consider this as an insult or humiliation. So there's a couple of instances where we're a smiley will sort of push back against things that he thinks are theologically problematic. And so hypercar, although Smiley is a Sunni, right, just like Bukhari, he's just a, there's a little bit more maybe a rationalist about theological matters. There's a lot more criticism by the way of Hadith in Sahih Muslim but in his Kitab in Moldova, his book of Fortune even though Josie dies 12 of one of the common era has one Hadith from Saudi Muslim in there are two Hadith from Sahih Bukhari and even hasm died 1064 He has a little treatise on there's two Hadith
from Buhari and two editor Muslims that he thinks cannot be accepted. The one in Buhari is the narration of Sheikh of the Prophet going to have having the metal Raj the miraculous trip to heaven. When he was a child. He doesn't say this is contradicts that what we know about the timeline of the Prophet's life. And there's two insight Muslim I think one is about why we are saying when he conversar Salam, one of the conditions is that the prophet has to marry his daughter, um, Habiba. But the prophet had already been married to her, like for years. And the second one is Yeah, I think that's, I think it's just one actually in each book, if I'm not mistaken. Also, there is criticism
of the Hadith in Sahih Bukhari that when God created Adam in paradise, Adam was 60 Arms tall, like 60 cubits tall. And this is mentioned by even clearer image of Zia died 1351 in his Monado motif on fortune eats, and it's been 100 hours Kalani discusses it. He doesn't say it's forged, but he just says, I don't know how to resolve this problem, because it says Adam was 60 Arms tall, then humans have been shrinking ever since then. But he says, you know, you go when you find these ancient buildings, like the houses of add in the mood that are carved into the rock of wagyu, the quota in the hijas, and the doors are the same size as our doors. So it's make sense that they're shrinking,
but he just says, I don't know. I have not found anything that resolves this, but he doesn't have you know, give an opinion about whether it's reliable or not. But you'll find a lot of Sunni scholars would say that hadith is is an example of afford to the the HANA fees are although eventually they acknowledged the value of Sahih Bukhari and write lots of commentaries on say Bihari especially in India, you know, any scholar worth their salt in the 1700s 600 708. Sanders is going to write a commentary on either so he Buhari or say Muslim, but they you'll still see for example, one scholar, even Abby will fall quarter she dies in about 1375. He's from Cairo. He has this
section in one of his books where he just goes off on Bukhari and Muslim he says, these books they get way too much praise and Bukhari you know, has this hadith of the one I just mentioned about the trip to Jerusalem. And Muslim has this hadith about God created the earth on a Saturday when Saturday is the seventh day of the week. And the Quran says that God created the earth in six days. And then he tells a story, which is also actually comes from an earlier Hanafi scholar named surrogacy the famous jurist and legal theoretician died around 1096 of the Common Era in surrogacy is Massoud, he has a story where Akari allegedly is in Bukhara. And he's asked about this question
about people who drink milk from the same goat and he says if you drink milk from the same goat you become a milk sibling with the other person who drank milk from that goat, which is a ridiculous opinion. Okay. And all the you know, I will have said Kabir, the great Hanafi scholar of the city says this is ridiculous and Buhari kind of gets driven out of town. This story is not true and later Hanafi scholars like I did Hey, in Lucknow, we, we died in 1887, the great Hanafi scholar from Lucknow, he says the story is made up but you see it you know he didn't hand it somehow to these sources. I think not only are they kind of maybe trying to get back a little bit of against Bukhari
who had disagreed so vehemently with the founder of Hanafy School of Law on law. But also it was in a way to make this point which we see often discussed, which is that there should be this division of labor between the Hadith scholars and the jurists. And that hadith scholars job is to basically process and authenticate deeds, but then not to get involved in giving legal opinions or trying to figure out how to interpret those deeds. And you see this attributed to Abu Hanifa and other early scholars that you know, the Hadith scholars are the pharmacists and the jurists are the doctors, that pharmacist just make the drugs and get it ready and only the doctors know how to prescribe it
and how to use it. So I think that's also trying to make this
point which you see often in the polemics between kind of more juristic ly inclined people and more maybe Hadith inclined people, all the way up until, you know, Salafi versus method B debates today. It's really important to keep in mind that these scholars all criticize Sahih Bukhari but you know, they're talking about, you know, one or two or three Hadith in insane Bukhari and sahih. Muslim and you're talking about a insignificant portion of the books. Now scholar Anita, daughter, Courtney, great Hadith scholar from Baghdad who died in 995 of the Common Era. He wrote a book where he criticized I about if I had 217 had deets. 78 of them were from Bukhari and 36 of them were in
Bukhari and Muslims books. But these criticisms are extremely arcane, detailed criticisms of specifics in the chains of transmission. They have nothing to do with the contents of the deeds. And mostly they don't even affect the reliability of the general Hadith on that topic. Like it'll be like Buhari gives three narrations and one of his narrations is missing a person in the snad. That should be there, that doesn't affect anything because I mean, there's still two other narrations in the book. They're very sort of very, very, almost nitpicky Hadith criticism. But when we talk about even kind of criticism, criticizing the meaning of Hadith in Bukhari Muslim and saying that meaning
can't be accepted, Muslim scholars do that. But it's it's a very small number of edits in the books. And it's not it's not it's not controversial to do that, until the early modern period. And really, until, but 19th and 20th centuries, because at that point, criticizing Bukhari and Muslim who were seen as sort of like the exemplars of the Sunni Hadith science, and the best of the tradition, criticizing them, is seen as a way a means or presents a danger of D legitimizing Islamic tradition as a whole. And I remember a scholar saying this and when I was in grad school and Muslim scholar told me this, he said, you if you if you reject Abu Huraira, as a transmitter, you reject Sahih
Bukhari you reject, say, Bukhari, you reject the Sharia. Now, in one sense, that's not true at all, like Buhari, I think Abu Huraira has about 446 narrations in say Pachauri maybe if I'm not mistaken. So you know, you could absolutely Bukhari and just take out the narrations or whatever if you wanted. Certainly this Sharia is not based on Sahih Bukhari No, no school of law or theology started by their founder picking up Sahih Bukhari and say, Okay, well, let's let's figure out what the Sharia is, what the scholar meant when they said that is the methodology that Buhari represents the idea of being able to create an authentic representation of the Sunnah of the Prophet. If you can't
do that. You lose your religion. And this, by the way, is something that was said in debates between the Morteza lights and the Sunnis, even going back to the late, you know, seven hundreds, one debate by this guy Omar bin Habib, the basket court is a Sunni scholar dies in 2048 20 of the common Euro. And they're a US debating with some Morteza lights and sort of Hanafi jurists in the court of the kala and they're the Morteza lights are criticizing the narrations from Abu Huraira, saying I will re was not reliable. And Norman Habib says, If you don't trust the companions of the Prophet, you don't have a link to the Prophet, you do not have a way of transmitting the Sharia from the Prophet
if you can't trust the companions. Now, the difference between, let's say, the juristic school, let's just say the hunter fees in this case and the early Sunnis, that halogen ordermark is not no one wanted to lose the Sharia. But someone like the AutoRAI would say, we believe that the short sunnah of the Prophet is transmitted through Hadith that are consistent, reasonable fit into a system of analogy and legal reasoning. That's how you know the Sunnah of the Prophet. Whereas the the early Allison Wajima, the early Sunnis, they said, no, no, no, this legal reasoning you're talking about as should not have a primary role in preserving and understanding the Sunnah.
Basically, you go back, you collect all the best you can and then you put these pieces together and that composite image is going to give you the best image the best understanding of the Sunnah of the Prophet. So they weren't really diametrically opposed to one another. They just had differing visions about the best way to preserve and understand the Sunnah. But the the point that that scholars making is that whether you're your Hanafi or Shafi or whatever, or a jurist or Hadith scholar, that so hey Buhari by the modern period, comes to represent that ability that six that success that Muslims success in preserving the sun
of the Prophet. And if you challenge him, and the consensus around him as the alchemy of the Hadith critical process, that you endanger the entire tradition, so you've kind of cut the legs out from the entire tradition, you no longer have a consensus about what the prophets setting did even a core of things that he said and did that you can kind of have as the basis of your religion. And so, it's seen as creating a door for especially Orientalist criticism of the Hadith, that if you kind of say that Buhari is can be criticized that now anything can be criticized and that, you know, Western criticize scholars of Islam are going to come in and do to the Islamic tradition, what they did to
the biblical tradition, and that that was so that's why in the modern period of Bukhari and Muslim become such beyond criticism, that criticism of them is sort of seen as semi heretical. So I think that, you know, when we talk about criticism of acquiring Muslim I think on the one hand, there's the question of kind of Muslims, the kind of the idea that Muslims are engaged in this constant process of reevaluation and study. And that never stops, like Imam Shafi said, you know, book is complete except the Book of God. You know, no book is free of error and no book is immune to criticism. But the issue around criticizing Bukhari Muslim or Sahih Bukhari especially in the modern
period, is sensitive because Bukhari becomes like a symbol of the Islamic tradition and criticizing it is seen as an attack on the integrity of that tradition, especially because it's understood as being an attack that is motivated or based on outside premises outside epistemologies, whether it's kind of a Western influenced Islamic modernism, or a kind of Western Orientalist criticism. So that's why in the modern period, there's a lot more sensitivity about criticizing Sahih Bukhari than there was, you know, 400 years ago. Now, you know, one of the questions was, what does Dr. Brown think about the Hadith in Sahih Bukhari? And are there any Hadith Sahih Bukhari that are untrue? I
think that this question is, I mean, I don't want to put down the person who asked the question, but I think it's the question is, it's considered the way it's conceived is based on a false premises. First of all, there are all sorts of things in Bukhari, I mean, depends on you to find true, right? I mean, did the Prophet actually say this thing or not? That's one way you could think about truth. And in that case, there's all sorts of things in sight Bukhari that can't be true, because Bukhari includes different narrations of the same event. So he'll include three different narrations of let's say, the prophet lays out salaam giving his speech, telling Muslims what to do when they
arrive in Mecca for their hudge, should they leave the state of pilgrimage after they do the camera until HUD starts again? Or not? Or what exactly do you say to them? Like there's different narrations, they all have the same general idea, but he says, The wording is different. So those things can't all be true. The Prophet said one of those things, or he didn't. Now by true you mean, are these different narrations representing kind of different aspects or different manifestations of a certain event that happened a certain moment in life of the prophet? And that that moment is true, again, I think really depends on your premises. I mean, how do you decide what's true or not when it
Ben hasm Or others said that they had a problem with a report of the prophet that describes his miraculous journey to Jerusalem occurring when he was a child? That is a fair criticism, right? Because we know that from many other reports, that are agreed upon a consensus that is thrown out aaj happened when the Prophet was an adult after he's a prophet. So if you have a report that says something else, then there has to be some kind of misunderstanding. Maybe there's an error in one of the transmitters said, and by the way, I mean, if you read that talebearer even 100 Escalante or any other headed commentary there, I'm just gonna guess, probably 20 or 30 instances in Sahih Bukhari
where even Hotjar who is a devoted Sunni scholar, right was not a radical it was not maverick in any way. He'll say, this narration is mistaken. There's a mistake in his narration, there has to be an error. Maybe one of the transmitters got confused, because it says something that we know is not reliable in every instance that I know of, in Sahih Bukhari that is a one narration of several narrations. So the disciple Hari has many narrations about this Ron Meraj and one of them has this
Problem of when it occurs. So you could say, maybe that narration is a mistake. Now, there are other things where it's maybe expanding the circle of criticism outward. Someone says, I have a problem with this hadith, for example, the age of Aisha when she gets married to Aisha, you know, the prophet consummated his marriage relationship when she was nine years old. And I know that there's some there's been this controversy in the UK where this one scholar in the UK has launched into all these attacks on say, he Bihari because it has this hadith in it about Aisha saying, she was nine years old when the Prophet consummated his marriage to her. Again, what are our premises, I
understand that this hadith makes people uncomfortable, because we live in insist in a time in societies where we consider nine year olds to be children who were are not sexual beings, and that it's sort of morally and legally disgusting to us that someone would have a sexual relationship, even a consensual one with someone who's nine years old. And by the way, he would say that a nine year old couldn't consent to begin with, because they're not an adult. But those are our premises. But those are our premises does have nothing to do with the rest of human history. Right? So we know from the Koran, that the enemies of the Prophet looked at his sex life for ways to undermine his
claims to be a messenger of God, right. So for example, in the Quran, the incidence, the incidence of the divorce of Zaidan zeyneb, and the prophets marriage to Xena, this is referred to in the Quran, and he's attacked for this. How could you marry somebody who was the wife of your doctored Son, and the Koran then talks about the true nature of adoption, the polemics whether it's from Christians in the Middle East, or Christians in Europe, for 1300 years, are full of discussions of the Prophet sex life. It's one of the main ways that enemies of Islam, critics of Islam, polemics against Islam, attack the prophets legitimacy. None of them talk about the age of Aisha until the
year 1905 is the first instance where you see a book say, hey, the prophet marry, this girl was really young. Why? Because nobody cared about that before. Because people in the United States were marrying 12 year old and 10 year olds and 13 year olds in the early 20th century, you're the age of consent in places like Georgia was like 10 years old, so and even in the UK. So what are our premises? Like, for example, there's another Hadith even Taymiyah criticizes Biharis book for this too. He says, there's a hadith where the profit is Mary's Maimunah, the aunt of even our bass when he's Muslim, when he's in a state of pilgrimage. This is problematic and there's you know, Muslim
scholars discuss this stuff. I don't want to get into the details. But you know, it's people have various ways of responding to this criticism or not, but things like that things where you're talking about the, the one the straw and the mouthwash happened. These are criticisms that were the premises come from within the Islamic tradition, like the criticism of Sohei, inside the Muslim of the Hadith that says that the God created the tuba the dirt on Saturday. Well, the Grant says, God created the world in six days. So how did that make sense? That's you're taking the Quran and you're saying this hadith seems to contradict the current, and it's agreed upon by Sunni Hadith scholars,
you go back to any book of Hadith criticism till the 10, hundreds of the Common Era as far back as the 10 Hundreds, you'll see the rule it's always the same. If Hadith contradicts the Koran if it contradicts the established unit that contradicts first principles of reason. If it contradicts consensus, it can't be something that Prophet said. Now, of course, you have to be willing to look at ways to reconcile this right? So someone could say, oh, the Quran says that dead animals are prohibited to you, but the Prophet allowed people to eat if a dead whale that was on the beach. Look, it's contradict Nick right? No, it's not contract. Nygren it's specifying the Quran by saying
that the Kranz commandment, about dead animals has to do with and land animals, not animals in the sea. But my point is that the idea that you reject a hadith because it contradicts the Quran unambiguously, this is not controversial. All Muslims agree with this, as far as I know.
But one, how quick are you to do this? Are you willing to think about ways that you can reconcile this hadith with the Quran or with other aspects of the sunnah or with reason? A lot of modern criticism of the Hadith tradition or sidebar is based on a unwillingness to grant any charity at all to attributions of the profit, and you just dismiss them out of hand because they don't immediately accord with your tastes or your predilections of the world. And
Then it becomes even more problematic. When the premises that you're using to judge or the criteria, the criterion of probity that you're using to judge the reliability of hadith is not based in any way in the current in the Islamic tradition at all. So when someone comes and says, you know, the age of Aisha, this is based on a your people object to this based on changes in human society that have happened in the last 100 years. And no one is saying like, I don't know any Muslim scholars who think that someone has to marry their nine year old daughter or something. In fact, it's entirely legitimate, entirely legitimate, and has been done in in many Muslim countries with complete
compliance with the Sharia that a government can say, we're going to restrict marriage age and say that you were not going to register marriages with people until let's say they're 18 or 16. This is fine. This is what's called tequila and MOBA restriction, the permissible for the Messiah or the benefit of the Muslim community, that's completely fine. But to then go back in time and say that because of our changes in economics and society, we're going to say that something that that attributed to the prophet could never have happened when no one said that even the prophets, biggest enemies, no one ever brought this up for 1400 years, either 1300 years, that is a criticism. I think
that that kind of that so that's that anachronism is. First of all, it's from a scholarly perspective, it's absurd, because there's no way that a historian, any historian worth their salt would say that, we're going to decide what story is probable or improbable in the past, based on what our values are today. And from a kind of more of a sort of confessional perspective, it's, I think, highly problematic to say that you're going to constantly adjust what you think happened in the life of your Prophet based on changes every couple of years to what people think is appropriate. In our time in place. I didn't think the question of criticizing Hadith so I say Buhari is really
any of that discussion, start with what are people's premises? What are the basis for the criticisms they're making? So that would be my answer you all, the author of misquoting Mohammed, the challenges and choices of interpreting the prophets legacy,
slavery and Islam and other works? What are the current projects that listeners can anticipate? Okay, well, I've been working on one book for a couple of years now, maybe she's, you know, five, six years. It's mostly done, but I can't ever get around to finishing it. It's called the justice in Islamic law, history of McCollum courts and legal reform, which is really a kind of a book about what a Muslims do when they they feel there's a conflict between or kind of a mismatch between their bodies of law and the expectations of justice. So that's how the Muslims handle that institutionally, how they handle it, theoretically, that book is mostly done, but I I just haven't
can't get around to finishing it because other stuff keeps coming up the slavery book I wrote because of the ISIS thing, and I'm now almost done with a book. It's called this is Islam, anti black, and it's about a discussion around Islam and racism and especially anti blackness and I am looking at kind of Islamic law and Scripture and how one answers this question. Short answer. Islam is not anti black. That's the short answer, but you get to read the book for more, more details on Dr. Brown, thank you for being a guest and obviously it History podcast.