Yesterday, while I was visiting my parents for fotoor, I got into a conversation with my father about the diversity of Quran interpretations and how this issue became, since the death of the prophet, the main reason for the collapse of the Islamic institution. Moslems got divided into sects and each sect divided into organized entities. Each would interpret Quran to the benefit of his entity; Ikhwan, Wahabiya, Alawiya, Ithna3ashariya, etc. And if that looks innocent enough on the outside on the slogan of freedom to practice one’s faith, it sure created hatred and prejudice movements, most of which are imbedded and waiting for a sudden outburst of disgusting languages or even physical assaults. And these people are supposedly following the same religion and the same prophet!

Since the beginning of the month of Ramadan, I started watching three TV series; althahir baibers, Nizar Qabani and Molook Altawaef. But by the middle of the month I ended watching only Molook Altawaif. So our discussion (me and my dad) drifted to the waste of the Islamic empire on the hands of its greedy rulers. And I told him that watching that series reminded me how much yesterday is like today; history is repeating itself, Almorabitoon for example were no different than the fanatic organizations of today although historians polished them with sheer vibrancy. And we both agreed that the end of this nation is on the hands of its rulers and how much they allow the misuse of religion to dominate its policy.

Anyway, by the end of our conversation my dad threw at me an anecdote before going to take his usual after fotoor nap. And I thought I’d share it with you because as funny as it may seem, unfortunately; it manifests our situation today:

He said: there was this mullah who preached in the Mosque and a lot of people followed him. And although he was poor himself that he barely made his living, he managed to distribute money almost constantly on the poor who attended his mosque. This raised a lot of suspicion and some nosy people set to follow him to see where is he getting all this money from. They found out that he stole from the rich and distributed it all on the poor. When he was brought to court, he explained that he is applying the preaching of Islam to win heaven. When the judge demanded an explanation he said” Quran says that God grants a reward worth of 10 times for one good deed ( wa nati bil 7asanah 3ashr amthaliha) and God had also promised that to each misconduct there will be a punishment equivalent to it ( wa nati bel sayiah mithliha), so if you do a simple Arithmetic calculation here you’ll see that by my conduct I’m gaining nine rewards each time I steal, and that Grants me heaven.

Now you will say that this is our fate, and what can we do about it?
The answer is to think, use your heads and don’t allow anyone to lead you like goatherds lead goats.
Religion should be separated from politics; it should remain where it belongs, in the heart of man and his sacred bond to God; the Great. The Merciful. The Love.

22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. shosho
    Oct 29, 2005 @ 09:20:00

    Loved the anecdote 🙂


  2. mishari26
    Oct 29, 2005 @ 10:24:00

    Let me ask you this AyyA:

    Lets say you got whisked away in a time machine to the days of Irrasool peace be upon him. So you sit there among the women (probably wearing a 3abaya) and listen to him. Whatever he says, would you consider to be God’s command?

    I would. And I think the matter starts here. The sources of Islam (according to me as a sinni) as a religion are the Qur’an (as interpreted by Irrasool and his Sa7aba) and The Prophet Mohammad’s words and deeds.

    That is called el-Sennah. its not a collection of vague and murky “traditions” or “rewayat”. Its all traceable through a whole science called “3elm il7adeeth” and “3elm iRrejaal”. Those two desciplines are not concerned with what is in the texts. They’re not about the “fiqh”. They’re a form of documentary archeology. I suggest you start your spiritual search there AyyA. 🙂

    However, provided you’re 100% sure that Irrasool said a piece of text and there’s no reasonable doubt about that, would you take that as the instruction of God Himself? thats why I ask the question in the 1st paragraph. Because the whole “3elm il7adeeth” research would do you no good if your answer is No or Maybe or Depends.


  3. McArabian
    Oct 29, 2005 @ 16:14:00

    Good post, Ayya. Good anecdote too 🙂

    I was thinking about mishari’s comment when it suddenly hit me: if I was transfered to the days of the Prophet, I probably would’ve been a Kafra. They say people usually converted because they were moved by the words of the Quran – I’ve come to the realization that the words of the Quran never moved me and they never will. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read a lot of the Quran both in Arabic and in English, and had heard it being read by many mullahs (my favourite used to be the one who would read the Quran before they start the KTV channels), but it never moved me.

    I do believe in God though, go figure.


  4. shosho
    Oct 29, 2005 @ 16:54:00

    Meshari, the Quraan was recorded during the prophet’s life time, but not his deeds or words, which circulated orally for decades until people started writing them down, and collecting them.
    Within this span of time, many things happened, dissent and political strife ran rampant among muslims, consequently some words or deeds were fabricated and ascribed to the Prophet [PBUH], and the only way to measure their accuracy is, as you said, to take a time machine and go back in history to check for ourselves, which as we all know, is in the realm of the impossible.

    You asked Ayya to go back in history to see if she would listen to the Prophet’s teachings, so let’s assume that you took the same machine, and went back, only to discover that many things you regarded as sunna, were actually not – what would you do then? And how would you feel about discovering that what you have told people as sunna was, infact, a fabrication?

    There is a thin line between what is sunna (tradition) and what centuries of prejudice and partisanship have forged as sunna.
    I think this is what Ayya was trying to point out in her recent religion -related posts. “3adel lo mo 3adel?”

    In short, I’m hungry 😦


  5. AyyA
    Oct 29, 2005 @ 19:25:00

    Thanks sweetie, I couldn’t have said it any better

    I’m not sure if I understood your question, but let me assume that you mean that I am to imagine myself one of the new converters to Islam and I am preached by the rasool directly, and you are comparing tradition we have inherited from him in his seerah to his direct preaching. If that is the case then allow me to ask you; where did you come up with the idea that those traditions that we inherited are the direct preaching of the prophet? Did you check them yourself to see how contradictory they are in the same volume, written and collected by the same source? Or you just inherited your beliefs from your parents and are satisfied with them?
    I have posted sometime back a personal experience, and although it was addressed under Rumor, but I think it’s valid here. It shows you how much each person perceives information, and then in his mind he filters this information according to his understanding and he delivers this information with the unintentional filtering. The case with 7adeath is even more sever, because the information we received today had gone through more than one filtering ( 3an folan, 3an folan, 3an folan, ……) not to mention that it was gathered 200 years after the death of the prophet, so how much do you think the percentage of accuracy is valid in any single 7adeath? And why should we consider normal people to be idle? Where is your percentage of human error here? Here I’m not even considering political reasons behind which some 7adeaths were deliberately modified, or even recreated. And the Islamic history is full of that, you can check that for yourself.
    Let me give you one example:
    There are only two 7adaths about 7ijab only mentioned in Dawood. Both referenced to Aisha, yet pay attention to how much one contradicts the other:

    رُوى عن عائشة عن النبى أنه قال: { لايحل لامرأة تؤمن بالله واليوم الآخر إذا عركت ( بلغت ) أن تظهر إلا وجهها ويديها إلى هاهنا } وقبض على نصف الذراع.

    ورُوى عن أبى داود عن عائشة أن أسماء بنت أبى بكر دخلت على رسول الله فقال لها :{ يا أسماء إن المرأة إذا بلغت المحيض لم يصلح أن يُرى فيها إلا هذا, وأشار إلى وجهه وكفيه}.

    1- In the first 7adeath we spot the word (la ya7il) which means it’s 7aram, while in the second 7adeath it says ( lam yaslh) which means it’s not proper, and the difference here is enormous if you are talking about tashree3.
    2- In the first 7adeath the address is made to the elbow while the second 7adeath addresses the palms.
    And examples like this are so many in tradition.

    The reason most converted to Islam at the times of the prophet in my opinion were different according to each stage. At one stage it was a promise to the poor and to the slaves for a better life. At another stage it was by force either physical (elfitoo7at) or financial since the ones who did not convert were forced to pay jizya. At other stages it was politics especially after fat7 Mecca.There were other sincere believers who converted to Islam because they were seeking truths that they could not find in their previous beliefs, no doubt about that, and that is also a part of human search which does exist until today when we see Christians for example converting to Islam or even Buddhism. But I don’t see how reciting Quran could have grabbed the masses on those days although I myself am moved by the verses, but not because of what they contain, more because of the tranquil effect it has on me since it is associated with the supreme. It brings back nice vibrations I got while visiting holy places. Just like a song that brings good memories and you tend to relive those moment. Mind you, for me, every holy place I visit whether a mosque, Elka3ba or a church, they all have the same effect on my soul. It’s the positive pure vibrations of the people around who come collectively to worship God.


  6. q8tyshareef
    Oct 29, 2005 @ 19:29:00

    I was gonna commend you on your stuff but after seeing that 3aysha 7adeeths, May God Have Mercy on You. Allah Y3eenich!


  7. AyyA
    Oct 29, 2005 @ 19:50:00

    WAW, in less than four minutes you were able to read, comprehend and comment on my reply to Mishari? You did confuse me with your comment, but one look at your blog explained it all, 3ala el3emoom thank you.


  8. iDip
    Oct 29, 2005 @ 19:50:00

    Interesting topic Ayya 🙂

    But I’d like to rephrase something you said above. I think that history isn’t repeating it self, but that’s life. I mean when any country/civilization/state/empire/era .. etc start, it starts as a childish/primitive initiative then it morphs into its youthfulness and then it grows up and dies…

    Later it gets old and another one conquers/ruin/prevail. That what happened in Spain. First the Phoenici, the roman then the Visigoths then the Muslims and only in 1492 the Spaniards ruled their land for the first time in their history.

    Regarding Al-Moravids (Al-Murabiteen), at their end they settled in Al-Andalus, and ib Tashfeen’s son & grandson ruled after him & in spain not in Al-Maghrib … so Al-Moravids lost their spirit, they turned into a sort of another Andalusian kingdom. That paved the way for another religious movement to burst in North Western Africa (Bilad Al-Maghrib) Al-Mohads (Al-Muwahhideen).

    Al-Mohads started in Al-Maghrib and ended with the same fate (as Al-Moravids) in Al-Andalus.

    Long story short, those are the dynamics of history … it doesn’t repeat itself … but it’s us HUMANS who repeat our actions to be beaten (or whatever) by others.

    Muslim divisions was far more severe in its first Millineum that now, there’s a book by Al-Shihristani called (al-milal wa al-nihal الملل و النحل) and it includes scores of muslim sect/schools/divisions …

    Finally, I totally agree with you … people must live & let live

    thank you for this enlightening topic.


  9. AyyA
    Oct 29, 2005 @ 21:01:00

    Thanks for the info idip, it was really educational 🙂


  10. Mello
    Oct 29, 2005 @ 23:12:00

    I would like to add one more thing, and this goes especially to my brother mishari26. You’re telling me to follow the Qur’an and the Sunna. Perfectly sound! Now the problem here is that you need to acknowledge that the prophet’s sunna should be taken from: 1-what his FAMILY have written about him. And 2-directly from their actions. That’s according to his hadeeth “taraktu feekum althaqalain; kitabu allah wa 3itratee ala baytee…” ‘til the end of his (PBUH) hadeeth about how we, as umma, would get lost if we don’t.
    And we all know that there’s just no comparison when it comes to who is more worthy of following after the prophet. He himself (PBUH) said to al imam Ali (PBUH): “anta minne bimathaabat haroon min ibraheem, illa annahu la nabya ba3dee” and when he said “ana madinatu al-3ilm wa 3alyun BABAHA”…the first 7adeeth saying that ALI should be the one all Muslims should follow after the prophet as a “margi3” and the second 7adeeth meaning that everything I (PBUH the prophet) learn goes thru ALI in order for it to reach me (everything he (PBUH) knows, Ali also knows)!! and that here is exactly the difference between the sinnis and shi’its. Something that should be a no-brainer!!
    Not to mansion that his friends and followers are regular people, some are sinners that sold themselves and beliefs for cash! For god’s sake who’ve betrayed Jesus?!!…oh! I know, a close friend of his, remember?!! Isn’t that a lesson for us?

    AyyA….THANK YOU for an amazing, amazing, amazing piece…meaningful and thought provoking…just how I like um!! 🙂


  11. AyyA
    Oct 30, 2005 @ 00:40:00

    My dear, we do not solve our problems by dwelling into where the source came from, and who is more worthy to follow. Once we start doing that, then we are mixing religion with politics. The fact remains that these preaching by the time it reached us, it already became a folklore. And the original preaching was lost right after the prophet’s death.

    LOL, your emotional outburst is the very thing I’m calling against in my post and remember that although some of what reached us may contain some truth but it is not all the truth


  12. Mello
    Oct 30, 2005 @ 01:00:00

    hahah…you got a great point there and all i was tryin to do there is to just point out that the differences are actually pretty simple and minor..they’re not what some make it out to be. and completely agree on the fact that teachings have become a folklore now. Thus, i truly believe that by now, what we believe in ought to stay in our hearts in order for us to move forward to a bright future inshaalla:)


  13. AyyA
    Oct 30, 2005 @ 13:26:00

    Ah, OK
    You got me confused a bit with your first comment 🙂


  14. mishari26
    Oct 30, 2005 @ 13:52:00

    AyyA and Shosho:

    Thats exactly my point. 3elm il7adeeth is far more involved and dedicated than one might dismiss it to be. There are huge volumes of books the only purpose of which is to catalogue the trustworthiness of people who were known to recite a7adeeth. Flan theqa, flan forgetful, flan is a liar.. and so on. These references are multiple and not singular. I agree that there’s the whole faction of Shi3a/Sinna that came and Shi3a have their own “rijaal” volumes. And mostly its a slander war between the two sides. I don’t want this to turn into a Shi3a/Sinna debate. All I’m saying is that these desciplines are extensive. Its too dismissive to just say its impossible to ascertain the accuracy of il’a7adeeth. If it was then why would so many scholars dedicate their time and effort to it? The basic philosophy of the science isn’t that complicated. You have multiple chains of people who say they heard irrasool say or saw him do something. If the report is similar enough on those multiple chains, then you have a strong indication that there’s truth there. I mean, why would so many unrelated people lie? and if they lie wouldn’t it make the texts completely different? Its a whole social behavior science there. Liars were alot easier to pinpoint than people who had memory problems. Someone who would fabricate a 7adeeth would be very likely to fabricate many more, and those are well known people. Its not that hard. Benevolent people however who have problems remembering the exact wordings of a 7adeeth are also known, but are a bit harder to pinpoint the extent. Its a matching game. you match the texts and the copies that agree with each other rule out the ones that don’t. etc. there are so many tricks that help immensly. its like archeology. playing Indiana Jones with old texts.

    And the last thing I want this post to be about is Shi3a vs. Sinna. My main point was about “authenticity”. That its not hopeless. Its there, its available. and recent scholars have done and continue to do great work there.

    Also, AyyA, I said in the 1st post that these people do not compare the texts and go “hmm.. this is contradoctory, this is BS”. They care about the “sanad” part of the 7adeeth 1st and foremost. The understanding of contradictions and such they leave to another descipline of people who specialize in understanding and interpretation in light of knowledge of the period customs and language mannerisms. What I mean to say is, the science of authenticating the source is extremely important to me as a muslim, and it totally depends on 3elm il7adeeth, because it provides 75% of what we follow as Islam. If I needed to understand what is meant by a certain Aya in Qur’an, I’d first check what is mentioned about it by irrasool and il’a7adeeth and then what ilsa7aba said (the term sa7aba for me includes aal-ilbait, so please don’t bite my head off)… and so on.

    If I just throw il’a7adeeth away as being useless and fabrications, that totally doesn’t make sense to me. Because I have looked into introductions about those sciences and they’re not bullshit. If I have the slightest incling that something irrasool said has survived the ages and was documented to us with a good degree of accuracy, I want to know about it and check its authenticity with the best of my abilities.

    And no Ayya, I totally dont care who is saying the fatwa, I care about the scholarly presentation of the basis of that fatwa. Why and based on which sources. Not inheritances. I’m not an expert by any means, but it doesn’t take one to listen and compare. And I don’t care too much for fatwas that don’t have basis in il’Qur’an and Sinna.


  15. MissCosmoKuwait
    Oct 31, 2005 @ 03:26:00

    It’s so amazing that I’ve been watching these episodes in amazement and was thinking the same thing…I actually had a conversaiton with my Dad and told him very disapponitingly that it’s in our blood…we suffer from this ego power…we hold on to what we want to believe and aim to always be the right ones…we spend energy wanting to be in power..and each of us follows one particular sect and arguing with others who don’t…etc..etc…in the end my Dad told me to go read about the other histories and see that they all had the same issues…the catholics, protestants, etc..so in the end…it boils down to sadly humans taking religion into their own hands and forcing it to become political….I’d say it’s in everybody’s history and possibly will be there in the future too…just screwed up human nature…


  16. AyyA
    Oct 31, 2005 @ 14:29:00

    Apparently you have not read my comments before, because you keep repeating what you have already said about the validity of 7adeath and you are asking why people should lie when I did not mention that to begin with. I asked you to consider human error here especially that the time span between what had happened and what was collected is 200 years. And the links I provided in my last post about the mechanism used in gathering 7adeath would have spared you from elaborating on that. And I’m not comparing 7adeath to Rijaal or whatsoever, the fact that they are all folklore is valid. In fact all religions of today, although they might contain some truths, they are full of bedtime stories that would only make sense to the layman of the old ages. What I’m asking you here is that we live in this century where technology and knowledge is at the tip of our fingers, let’s use it for our benefit and don’t take everything we inherited for granted that’s all.
    I hope I made myself clear.

    Did you see last night’s episode when Almo3tamid shouted at Almorabiteen when they betrayed him by killing his son and taking his daughter as a slave (mind you; Islam had forbidden Moslem women to be taken as slaves)? My God when he said” you Islamists use the excuse of spreading religion for God’s sake when in fact you are aiming for sultanate, your hidden agenda is to rule” I jumped from my seat and almost kissed the TV with teary eyes form the tragedy. I think that was a very strong message, but who is to learn? Everyone else is busy watching girgai3an crap.
    And look what the Islamists are doing to our institution; they have control over our financial and political systems as well as our educational system, where would this lead us to? It is scary
    And mind you dear this egoism that you mentioned is normal in all communities that submit to a certain ideology; everyone thinks he’s right and others are wrong. Look what harm the Coo Clucks Clan did to their society although they considered themselves as believers and not criminals, they had their own ideology. And Alzargawi group and what they did in killing innocent Moslem people in Iraq also have their own ideology.
    Committing to an ideology or a line of thought is harmless if you respect other’s ideologies as well; this is only a trait of civilized people. And religion is dangerous if it exceeded its boundaries.


  17. shady q80
    Nov 01, 2005 @ 01:25:00

    Great anecdote.

    My idea on interpretation: It is only needed to justify a priori beliefs. It takes you from something you intuit to something you find logical. In the end, you only believe in yourself, not what you are trying to interpret.


  18. AyyA
    Nov 01, 2005 @ 02:14:00

    How true, and let me continue where you stopped:
    This self is part of God, therefore virtue becomes a propensity and there would be no need for interpretation.
    Don’t know if you agree with me on that but to me it makes sense 🙂


  19. MissCosmoKuwait
    Nov 01, 2005 @ 03:29:00

    I know..I know…and if you want to take it a step further…when we think of them ruling Spain..when they actually invaded it…was it on the basis to spread Islam…or was it to spread the arabic language..or was it to just have power..After watching this program..I can’t help but think..of Karma…and if the saying is true that History repeats itself…well then it’s true…what is happening now…we have reversed roles…but again religion with politics…etc..etc..same thing…it’s a sick world!


  20. shady q80
    Nov 01, 2005 @ 06:28:00

    No, I don’t believe in the self’s propensity towards virtue. I believe in the self’s propensity towards happiness.


  21. Temetwir
    Nov 01, 2005 @ 13:50:00

    while i like the post, i would like to say that ‘the collapse of the islamic institution’ did not happen .. wa7ed

    athnain, the division of the many sects was not a consequence of the ‘wrong’ or better yet, varied tefaaseer for the qur’aan

    that said, i must admit i just skimmed thru the comments (already late for my lec) but still would like to comment on Mishari26’s comment

    mishari26, while u seem like an understanding fellow and althu i am sure u did not mean it to come out that way.. ur definition of ‘el-sennah’ implies that all other sects do not have the same ‘sources’

    having said that, ofcourse each sect has diff sources.. namely 3ilm el7adeeth and 3ilm il rijalat

    the problem here though is as follows (this accounts for il math’hab il seny only):
    sa7ee7 muslim, and sa7ee7 il bukhaary are (the) two main sources for il a7adeeth

    however, saying that every single 7adeeth in both is ‘sa7ee7, wala khilaaf 3alayh’ causes lots and lots of problems

    namely, contradictions (of same events)
    or also slight differentiation of the language of the 7adeeth

    knowing that even a 7arraka (thama, fat7a, kasir) in Arabic can change, not only the meaning of the word, but the ENTIRE sentence.. i would assume u know where i am going with this

    -apologies for typos/incoherence, if ull excuse me ill go now look interested in class-


  22. AyyA
    Nov 05, 2005 @ 16:02:00

    Miss Cosmo

    Smart, happiness is the ultimate goal indeed.

    What does you nick stands for?
    With all this diversity in one single religion and you still don’t think that it had collapsed? Do you think that we are practicing Islam as it was originated?


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