Minute with a Muslim #051 – Why The Historical Critical Method Is Flawed

Tom Facchine

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Channel: Tom Facchine

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AI: Summary © The speaker discusses the historical critical method of exploring what is real and what is not real in Islamic studies, which involves finding out what is real and what is not real in a way that is not neutral. The method is used to avoid biases and agendas, as it is designed to encourage people to act morally and not just accept and reject what is real. The speaker also discusses the use of similar methods in history and religion, as it is designed to encourage people to act morally and not just accept what is real.
AI: Transcript ©
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When orientalists and non Muslims in Islamic studies departments, they deal with Islam, they deal with the Quran or the Hadith or the Sierra, they usually assess it and interact with it using a set of tools, which is referred to as the historical critical method. Now, recently, this method has gotten a little bit more attention, because there were some people, you know, Dr. Shadi, and I must have had a debate with somebody. And that person declared that the only thing that they felt was reliable about Islamic texts were the Koran and the Sierra and supposedly that they believed in the historical critical method. So I just want to share just two brief reflections on that. What is the

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historical critical method, it's basically founded on a belief that we're trying to uncover history as it really was, unfortunately, a lot of historians, they're not sufficiently aware of the assumptions and presuppositions that they come into when they start doing history, right? They think that history is that simple, you just figure out what really happened. And that's it. But the entire quest to discover what really happened in the first place presupposes an idea of what is real and what isn't real. It presupposes ideas about what can be real, and what can't be real. And so if you have something like, let's take miracles, if you are a believer, you're somebody who had been

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convinced by Islam, then you believe that miracles are possible, you believe that these things are real angels are real, there are things in the unseen, that are real, somebody who is approaching Islam with the historical critical method, they have a different definition of what is real, and most people aren't aware of it. They're assuming that What is real is the secular materialist self in the secular materialist world, and that you know, individuals while you might have beliefs that are laid over on top of you, or shed from you write or basically a non essential element of who you are. So the entire idea that you're going to uncover what's real, and do so in an objective way,

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completely sidelines, or misses this point that you're already operating with an ideal an idea of what reality is, and again, most Islamic scholars, or Islamic Studies, scholars, and most historians that talk about Islam, they're not sufficiently aware of their sort of beliefs when it comes to what is real and what is not as real. They're trying to uncover how much you know, like either did Mohammed Salah lives and I'm really exist, or is the Hadith accurate? Or, you know, are the details of what happened in the life of the prophet Mohammed sites? And I'm accurate, right? How much can we believe that kind of takes this super skeptical position, and it tries to judge things, and it

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imagines itself as being neutral. And I think that's the key that a lot of people they assume that to be secular materialist is to be neutral. And anybody who, you know, just has a little bit of study of philosophy or theology understands how not neutral that is to say that what's really real is the material, the socio economic power, you know, these sorts of things, and belief in miracles and stuff like that. That's not real. So that's one thing. And the other thing is that when Islamic studies departments and oriental scholars, they interact, and they use these tools as historical critical method, one of their big emphases is looking for biases and agendas. And the claim is that

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okay, well, we know that propaganda happens, we know that revisionism happens, we know that, you know, whether it's the omegas versus the Besitz, or whether it's the Sudanese versus the Shi as are, there were all these different sorts of competing claims. And we know that certain Hadith were fabricated in order to justify the claims of one group or the other. But the mistake is then to assume that all Hadith are like that. Or the mistake then is to neglect and not even really pay serious attention to the mechanisms that Muslim scholars, Islamic scholars, traditional scholars have developed and employed in order to weed out such reports, right, which is a reason why I know a

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lot of Oriental scholars and Islamic Studies folks, you know, get it completely wrong when they approach the Sierra and they act like this is like a history book. It's not like a history book, unless we have the pre modern understanding of history as something that's supposed to basically inspire us to act morally, it's not like Hadith. I mean, there's lots of inauthentic material that is found in the Sierra literature, right? But when you go into the Hadith literature, this is something that has a much higher level of scrutiny and a much higher level of authentification. Right? And so, you know, to assume that just because some heavy fabrication happened, that therefore

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all Hadith are fabricated, is is a gross error. It's a gross error, and it betrays the sort of philosophy that people are coming into it with, again, assuming whether it's sort of a Marxist leaning, or whether it's a postmodernist leaning, that the real is a socio economic, the real is the power struggle, you know, the whole point of religion and faith and worship and you know, Sudak and all these sorts of things, you know, Teskey it's enough's is that you're shedding your biases and looking at reality as it really is. You're not being a partisan, you're not a you're not just sort of accepting and rejecting based off of your

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narrow group interests that you're actually dedicated to the truth. irony of ironies. This puts somebody in a lot better position to assess what's real and what's not what's true and what's not than somebody who comes in with prefabricated notions of the only really real thing being the physical reality or the materialist reality.