Tom Facchine – Minute with a Muslim #304 – Scholarship Without Proper Context

Tom Facchine
AI: Summary © The conversation is about the use of Islamic scholarship for mass audiences, as it can backfire. The speakers discuss different ways to educate oneself about religion, including using books and conversations, and the importance of being sensitive to one's religion. They also touch on the idea of a happy medium between individualism and collectivism, as it is essential to educate oneself about one's religion.
AI: Transcript ©
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A lot of the literature that we have in like Islamic scholarship wasn't necessarily intended for mass audiences. Just like if you have like an academic journal, then there's been a conversation that's been going on for a long time. And people who participate or contribute to those sorts of journals, they're responding to things that have specifically already been talked about. So people need to be really careful when they, I mean, a lot of people, they feel zeal, and that's a really good thing. And they want to educate themselves and get more familiar with Islamic scholarship. But then they might throw themselves into Hadith books or to other, you know, works in Islamic

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scholarship, without the proper training in the proper context. And actually, it can backfire. A lot of times, sometimes, you're going to run into things that are completely decontextualized, especially with Hadith books,

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that authors of the Hadith books, never imagined. I believe that they never imagined that the average daily Muslim would think that they would just come to them and open them up and read them like Hadith by Hadith and feel like that they are educating themselves about the religion.

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Because the way that they're presented in Hadith books are usually very decontextualized. Right? So it's not necessarily like, you're getting the entire backstory about what happened at that particular event, or the motivations that were involved. And sometimes it has negative consequences. Some people they come across things, and they're shocked at what they find. And then they ask someone who has studied, and it's like, oh, well, this is talking about this i and the Quran verses talking about this specific situation, in which there's just a whole lot more context to it. And then people can kind of, you know, step back and like, oh, wow, I didn't know that. And that wasn't

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what I found in the book. So Well, yeah. Well, the book was meant to be almost like a quick reference for people who are kind of already in the know, and this conversation that's already been going on. And it's not necessarily supposed to be like, Hey, you average Muslim, like, I'm gonna teach you step by step about your religion in kind of a holistic way. So people have to be sensitive to that they have to be sensitive to kind of what they're exposing themselves to. And everything there's, you know, there's two extremes, like you can go to one extreme, where it would be like the gatekeeper phenomenon, where it's like, nobody can touch these books, or even, you know, sniffed

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these books, unless they've studied for 10 years or 20 years. And that's one extreme, and I don't support that at all. I think that I encourage people to educate themselves about Islam. We're not the Catholic Church or the Orthodox Church, there's not like a,

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an ecclesiastical body that's, you know, preventing you from educating yourself about the religion, you know. But there's another extreme too, there's another extreme that just imagines that every single individual with absolutely no training, can just get in there and start making sense of some of these works. And some of these books and some of these sorts of conversations that have been going on. It would be like you walking into a hospital, and just like stepping into the operating room and picking up the scalpel the scalpel, you don't know what you're doing that thing, you know, you need to have training, you need to understand what's the scalpel good for? When do you not use

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the scalpel? When do you use it? And what are the things that you can use it for that will have positive results, and one of the things that are going to have negative results. So there's a happy medium in between those two things. And in reality, Islam is also a faith that bounces between individualism and collectivism, right, we're not extremely collectivist to the point where we squash out all individual rights. And we're not so individualistic, that we have no sensitivity to communal and collective rights. And so sometimes people have an overly individualistic mindset when they come to educate themselves about Islam, they think that they're just going to do it all themselves. And

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really, it's meant to have a relationship. Yeah, you have to have relationships with other people in order to learn in order to check yourself against misinterpretation, in order to check yourself against, like a conflict of interest or sort of ulterior motives that you might have. And at the end of the day, you need somebody who's going to be able to contextualize things for you, and make them available to you in a way that you're going to be able to understand them and actually incorporate them into your life.

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