Professor Venessa Toulmin is a cultural historian. In this video she makes an interesting observation about a correlation between ‘respectable’ forms of ettiquette in Edwardian midlands and its similarity to the Muslim practice of Hijab both united in upholding a conservative, traditional and I would add a ‘normative’ notion of modesty in the Abrahamic part of the world.
This has been evidenced by rare footage, that is practically lost to/lost on contemporary popular culture and its populace, whose direction is being led by market interests.
Allah, subhana wa ta’ala’s name
What follows is a continuation of a conversation discussing God, continued from the last post…
SHORT ANSWER: What exactly is the issue that some have with the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his marriage with Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her)? Quite simply, it is that she was allegedly a child when he consummated his marriage with her. But this assertion is wrong. She wasn’t a child. She was someone who was appropriately able to marry. This is the misunderstood point.
End of discussion. Next question.
“Wait, wait!” someone might say. “This isn’t a sufficient explanation!”
O.K. Let me elaborate:
The Authentic Compilation of the Qur’an versus the (Relatively-Speaking) Inadequate Preservation of ALL the Other Previous Holy Books.
One ought to be awed by the material rigour in which the Qur’an was preserved and safe-guarded from corruption when compared to all the other previous sacred dispensations. Glory be to God.
Read a ‘basic-intro‘ here.
A Few Words on Hadiths
The Hadith Tradition is a ‘common sense science’ or a ‘common sense tradition’ and is ‘one of the biggest accomplishments in human intellectual history… in its breadth, in its depth, in its complexity and in its internal consistency.’1
This is not a definitive set of parameters. Not in the least. However, what is attempted is to begin an inquiry of sorts into the following challenge I’ve encountered as a Muslim: to purport to apply Islam for oneself or to explain Islam to Non-Muslims and Muslims, in the midst of primarily trying to learn, understand the said-knowledge myself, first, and at-the-same-time.
Part 1: How to Discuss the Truth?
What is an acceptable level of discussion that enables the topic of Truth to be conversed without hurting people’s ideas of what they deem sacred?
The historian and former banker, Benedikt Koehler, in his lecture on ‘Early Islam and the Birth of Capitalism’ appears at a loss to explain what happened to the critical inquiry and dynamic underpinning that was the distinctive feature of the Early Islamic zeitgeist (watch from 49.05).
A young Hamza Yusuf once remarked bitterly in an old lecture that he was trying to calculate the exact day when all the Muslims collectively got together and – crank! – ‘switched their brains off ‘. (I will try and locate the exact lecture in due course.) Despite his frustrations in the joke, this notion – the implication – posits the ‘Closing of the Gates of Ijtihad’ scenario. We will explore this train of thought in due course (see below).
But what is being probed is the issue that where once the Muslim world was in a position of power, leading the world in sciences, economics and culture, now the same world has fallen to an all-time low. So what happened?
1. The End of the Revelatory Age
There is an account that tells us how the Companions of the Prophet (s), Abu Bakr and Umar (r), visited a woman who was crying after the Prophet (s) had died. After trying to console her by saying the Prophet (s) was in the better place in the Afterlife than this worldly life, she explained that with his death, that sublime link to God that our Prophet (s) was graced with (vis-a-vis revelation – a portal of communication from the divine) – had now ceased – forever – in our mortal life-times. On hearing this, both Abu Bakr and Umar (r), realising the significance of her words, joined her in a flood of tears.
But wait! When we hear of this account, we believe we too understand the significance of her words. We assume – ‘Yes I got it! I understand. This account is simply relaying how where once God spoke to the Prophet and thereby to the Companions of the Prophet, at the time – and so indirectly to us… well, now, that is no longer the case.’
Yes? No? This explanation actually adds nothing to the sheer magnitude of what had just happened. Think for a moment… Continue reading