By Muhammad Yunus and Ashfaque Syed, New Age Islam
June 16, 2013
Paper presented at the 14th annual Conference held by CSID (Center for Study on Islam and Democracy) at Washington DC on May 29th 2013.
(Muhammad Yunus and Ashfaque Syed have jointly authored Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009.)
Muslims throughout the globe have never been able to recover from the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the impact of Colonialism. Their rich heritage and once mighty and flourishing dynasties have become history - a reminiscent of the past. Great learning centres such as those in Baghdad, Bukhara, Medina, and Cairo, which boasted of their intellectual advancements and traditional heritage, have lost their pre-eminence and vitality. They have suffered grievously from the legacy of the onslaught and divisions created in Arab lands. Artificially created borders, divisions and establishments of kings and dictators destroyed the very fabric of the rich Islamic tradition. The tradition, once proud of its glorious achievements has continued to deteriorate resulting in a state of intense instability and flux.
This is a grim historical reality that, in the backdrop of recent political events and invasions has translated into a growing awareness to stem the process of decline and move forward in peace and harmony with the rest of the world as equal partners in the global confederation of humanity.
Coming to the Arab world, as a geo-political entity, it is far from homogenous. Social, political, economic, and ideological differences not only mark its component countries but also affect each of them within their own borders. These differences have blocked any social and political integration of the Arab world into a cohesive region as observed in the West. Further, diverse, and often distorted interpretations of Shari’a have played a divisive and retrogressive role in informing the worldview of Arabs and Muslims at large. In broader national and historical perspective, this has inhibited the advancement of the Arab world in practically all developmental fields. More grievously the classical Sharia (law) of Islam (not the divine Sharia, the Qur’an) regards universal education as an emblem of Western civilization and promotes the teaching of theological sciences and works of the great Muslim scholars of the classical era in madrasas (traditional schools). As a result, the Arab world has lagged behind in promoting universal education (‘Ilm) and rational thinking (Fiqha) at a grass-root level. At the same time, its business elite, commercial leaders and industrialists who may have acquired modern universal education live in the shadow of the classical Sharia of Islam. They unwittingly ignore modern liberating principles such as safety, security, welfare and dignity of people (their employees), protection of assets and environment, good business ethics and financial practices, and other facets of professional management to maximize profits and live lavishly as in the classical era of Islam. The same feudalistic and get-rich-quick aspirations mark the political leadership, and are reflected in civil administration in the form of corruption, nepotism, cuts and commission, red tape and lack of foresight and coordination in planning and execution of national development program.
Accordingly, it has failed in establishing an industrial, technological, educational, research, healthcare, human resource development base, and infrastructures that the rest of the world has achieved. In addition, international sanctions, wars, escalating defense budget and impact of global recession has resulted in rising unemployment, increasing income disparity, mounting corruption, deepening frustration, and human rights abuses. These debilitating factors have collectively taken the Arabs back hundreds of years compared to many countries.
Let this suffice as run up to the historical roots of the Arab Spring Revolution as it is labelled.
The dictators have been ousted form some Arab countries. Democratic governments are being formed. The question at this moment is how to steer and orchestrate the democratization process, taking Tunisia as a model.
This raises a fundamental question. Can a transition to a democratic form of government alone produce the desired result, without doing anything about the civilisational complacence that has been plaguing the Arab world for the past few centuries? Put differently, even if they embrace some form of democracy, the Arab world may still confront diverse social and human rights issues, internal conflicts, ideological differences on the interpretation of Shari’a, and the outpouring of the vilest legal rulings (Fatwas) - unless the democratization process is complemented with an all-round reform.
This confronts us with the bitter truth that many, if not most Muslim scholars and Ulema may wish to evade: the dichotomy of Islamic faith itself. On one hand the Muslims believe in the infallibility of the Qur’an as the divine fount of guidance and on the other they venerate the secondary theological sources that are embedded with rulings and materials that stand in stark contradiction to the Qur’anic message. This is an extremely important point that merits deep introspection and soul searching. It is therefore essential that we take a hard look into the various theological sciences that to this day define and inform the Islamic faith. A faith that is far closer to the heart of Muslims than any notion of political reform.
Let us now review the secondary sources briefly:
Let us first distinguish between Shari’a and Shari’a law: Muslims generally misunderstand these terms; they tend to think they are one and the same. Technically, Shari’a connotes the multiplicity of paths that a herd can take to reach its watering place; generally speaking the innate ways created by God. Thus, for Muslims it is the ‘Deen’ or broad moral laws of Islam as directed by the Qur’an in the 48th verse of Surah al-Maidah. The word Shari’a, however, does not necessarily limit and connote to the way of life of a Muslim, it may also apply to a group of people who are bonded by a common set of beliefs, as stated by the Qur’an – “the ways of previous generations” (Shari’a man Sabaq), or “the Jewish way of life” (Shari’a al-Yahud).
Islamic law, otherwise known as Islamic Shari’a law, on the other hand, is a cumulative juristic tradition that encompasses the legal responsa (fatwa) and opinions (rai) of all past jurists of Islam. Prof. Khaled Abou Fadl of UCLA eloquently expressed: “Shari’a law refers to positive Islamic law or the Ahkam, the positive legal commandments deduced and expounded through centuries of cumulative legal practice. As such, it is fallible whereas Shari’a is not”.
Islamic Shari'a law is shaped and informed by customs, traditions, social and political conditions, juristic norms and state of knowledge of the diverse historical points of Islamic civilization - dating from the founding Caliphate (632-661/10-40 AH) through the medieval ages to this day. Thus, due to the fallible nature of humans’ endeavour, it contains, among countless noble rulings, many rulings that are antithetic to the Qur’anic message and Nobel persona of the Prophet.
In historical perspective, however, the classical Shari’a of Islam was interpreted and implemented by learned Muslim jurists (Fuquaha) and religious Muslim Judges (Quadis) and offered a far better social and human rights package to the citizens of Islamic dynasties including their minorities and the women-folk than other major civilizations of the era. This resulted in intellectual advancement of Islam and flourishing of its civilization. In today’s context, however, the puritanical Islamists are digging out extreme views from juristic archives, adopting literalist interpretations, and appropriating the harshest rulings, and opinions of past scholars that conflict with the Qur’anic message, as well as secular democratic values as observed by Sheikh Muhammad Abduh .
They are thus creating a divide amongst Muslims, and thwarting their democratic ambitions. In such an atmosphere, any democratization of Muslim lands under the ambit of Shari’a law will be very challenging if not impossible, and at best short lived and chaotic.
Broadly speaking, the Hadith corpus as we have today evolved in the first two centuries of Islam. The nomadic Arabs in pre-Islamic Arabia did not have any scripture, books, or written source of knowledge. They were guided primarily by the normative ways or ideals (Sunna) of community leaders and ancestors, which they verbalized in the form of Ahadith or narrations for oral transmission down the generations. Accordingly, the Muslims in the first five to six generations traced the Ahadith to the Prophet, his companions, their successors as well as the prominent men of each generation. It was only in the subsequent two to three generations that the Ahadith were attributed to the Prophet alone. The Hadith compilations that we have in our hands today were collected, screened, recorded, and canonized more than two hundred years after the Prophet’s death.
As oral reports, transmitted across fragmented centers of Islamic civilization down some seven to eight generations, Ahadith attracted extravagant and legendary embellishments that were characteristic of the era – the early medieval age. The dynastic rulers and those in authority in each generation also forged and fabricated accounts to serve their own interests and put them in circulation as Hadith by establishing chain of transmissions (isnad) tracing them back to the Prophet.
The process of authentication of these Ahadith adopted by the great compilers, however, ignored the ‘Matn’ (scrutiny of the text itself) aspect.
The first two scrutinizers and compilers of Ahadith, Imam al-Bukhari and Muslim were fully aware of the inevitable machinations of history. However, it was simply impossible for them to screen the hundreds of thousands of accounts they encountered to any degree of accuracy . All that they could do was to check the reputation of the people in the transmission chain (isnad). Thus, their so called ‘authenticated’ compilations contain numerous apocryphal accounts that on face value, provoke sexuality, induce terrorism, foment inter-faith hatred, stand deeply misogynist, and are scientifically untenable , while there are others that contradict each other , and worst, some even contradict the Qur’an, and some that were specific to the era and have no relevance whatsoever today .
The Ulema in the classical era of Islam ignored the patently apocryphal accounts and discouraged common people from reciting or memorizing them. The civilisational rivals of Islam, on the other hand, had no clue of such accounts due to the esoteric nature of theological knowledge. However, in a great irony of history, these very apocryphal accounts are tapped and propagated by both the Muslims and non-Muslims. The traditional Ulema quote them to promote religious bigotry, the radicalized elements in Islam quote them to justify terrorism, the skeptics among the Muslims quote them as an excuse for their skepticism – some of whom eventually apostate, while the ever growing anti-Islamic scholarship quotes them to demonize Islam and malign its Prophet. And with the advent of the internet, social network they are easily accessible and communicated globally.
The traditional Sira or biography of the Prophet occupies a central place in Islamic scholarship. It draws almost entirely on Ibn Ishaq’s manuscript compiled some 125 years after the Prophet’s death and published by Ibn Hisham some fifty years later under the title, Sirat al Rasul Allah. It is based entirely on oral accounts transmitted down the generations starting from the Prophet’s era. This long historical gap in reporting inevitably led to distortions, embellishments, and corruption of its records. Thus, it lionizes the Prophet by conjuring up miraculous signs attending his birth and early life and attributes many miracles to him even though such claims conflict with the Qur’an’s testimony. It also invests the Prophet with legendary sexual power and tyrannical ruthlessness though the Qur’an repeatedly describes him as a mortal like others, sent as a mercy to all.
During the classical era of Islamic civilization, the presence of the legendary and the tyrannical in the Sira created no confusion. The simple Muslims of the era took these as a sign of the extraordinary – the twin qualities of the great conquerors of history they wanted to see in their Prophet. But today, in the backdrop of growing hostility against Islam and the maturity of the human mind, these legendary and tyrannical reports demonize the Prophet and cast a lurid shadow on the faith of Islam. Thus, drawing on the Sira, a Western scholar writes: “Time and again we read accounts on how the enemies of Islam were slain without mercy. And often the victors first inflicted atrocious penalties – lopping off limbs, gouging off eyes, cutting off tongues, noses, ears, fingers, hands, feet, testicles, and disemboweling not only with knives but also with instruments first made red hot over fire” . We cannot simply dismiss this report as propagandist, as they indeed draw on Islamic sources [3.2] no matter how apologists may explain. Omitting their graphic detail in this presentation will be a denial of truth as these accounts are read by millions of readers of the Western world and accepted as truth.
Broadly speaking, ‘Aquida is synonymous with faith or ‘Iman’. This notion became a central doctrine in Sunni Islam around its third century to give rigidity, structure and a formal definition to Sunni Islam. Therefore, a Sunni Muslim is expected to comply with the five pillars of Islam, and belong to one of the four schools of law, and blindly accept all matters relating to religion - without questioning. Since religion and politics were intertwined, this conviction has a political dimension. Thus, the charters of ‘Aquida include such political dogmas as unqualified obedience to the Caliph, unlawfulness of any protest or rebellion against him even though he may be corrupt and despotic or tyrannical; and paralleling obedience to the Caliph with obedience to Allah. To absolve the Caliph of all his responsibilities towards his subjects, the ‘Aquida’ proclaims pre-ordination of good and evil, state of poverty and affluence, fortune and misfortune and of everything else in life and mandates jihad when imposed by one in authority.
While relevant for its era, in the present day cognitive makeup, ‘Aquida’ curbs the freedom of choice (Najdayn), and the spirit of enterprise (unremitting struggle for improvement - Jihadan Kabira). It blocks reasoning (‘Aql) and rational thinking (Fiqh) that the Qur’an repeatedly asks humans to engage in pursuing the right course (Rashd) of civilization. Therefore, it virtually reduces the progressive and dynamic faith of Islam into an atavistic cult, incapable of forming a cohesive, stable, and progressive society that goes with any form of democracy.
The truth is, as in all ancient religions, theological discourses are embedded with legends, fantasies, fables, tales, parables, and all forms of embellishments as characteristic of the era in which they evolved. The embellishments were incorporated to lionize the founder of the religion and its leaders, to demonize the perceived enemies, to fire the imagination of common-folk and to fill them with awe and admiration for their prophets and saints. Islam is no exception. The only exception is that all major religions have, for all practical purposes, vaulted over the theological phase of their faiths. They are now focusing on the core and universal message intrinsic to their faiths or ingrained in their genes as today’s globalized high paced world has virtually displaced religion with common sense and universal morality.
The Muslims, on the other hand, are tenaciously clinging to their theological roots and turning a blind eye to the core, universal, and humanistic trajectories of their faith, which fortunately for them, is preserved in the Qur’an. As a result, their religious thoughts are frozen at the early medieval ages – the era of theological evolution in Islam. Their theologians have been debating exactly the same thing for centuries without moving forward. They continue to debate and question what appears ambiguous and their Ulema continue to issue Fatwas on all kinds of themes, from the most trivial to the most preposterous as this learned gathering will know.
As religion plays a central role in the Islamic society, stagnation of religious thoughts has greatly hampered its advancement and can be regarded as the chief cause of its decline and stagnation as mentioned in the beginning of this essay.
This paper therefore calls upon Muslim scholarship to treating their theological discourses in their historical perspective as classical or specialized subjects as was applied to the notion of Asbab al Nuzul (reason for the revelation). The Hadith and Sira must be stripped off the embellishments, colourful accounts, gossips, and lethal accretions  and consolidated to preserving the legacy of the Prophet, no less his companions, as consistent with the Qur’anic ideals. The rich heritage of Islamic Law can be continued to be taught at the higher level of academy. At the same time, full emphasis must be given on the promotion of universal knowledge.
Much as the rest of the world, the intellectuals, rationalists among the Muslims, and the participants of this seminar may doubt or dismiss the Qur’an as a living discourse, any attempt to take it out of the social and political fabric of Islam will simply be a non-starter. The Muslim masses will never ever approve such disregard, and why should they. Regardless of whether one believes in its divinity or not, its profound role in bringing about an all-encompassing reform in one single generation cannot be denied - As Kenneth Cragg, a distinguished contemporary scholar of Islamic and Christian studies has stated, “What happens in the Qur’an is deeply related to the travail of our time”  – clearly pointing to its present day relevance.
This raises the fundamental question: How can the Qur’an be interpreted in an objective and agreeable manner.
Read as a guidance manual, it is immensely challenging even to the Arabs. Its early Arab audience were utterly confused by its text and called it a jumble of dreams. Translation in a foreign tongue as well as Tafsir yield divergent and conflicting interpretations. The traditional interpretations in our hand are largely based on Islam’s theological discourses and represent the worldview of the medieval era. The Muslim Ulema insist on clinging to traditional interpretations as they are consistent with their theological views and doctrines. Literalism and rigid conformity to the simple ways of life of the Prophet’s era as advocated by ultra-conservative quarters today on the other hand conflicts with the Qur’an’s varying historical context, linguistic nuances and gender dynamics, confuses the clear with the allegorical and the abstruse, sheds Islam of its dynamism and pluralism, kills its liberating paradigms and reduces it to a mere cult. Last but not least, the skeptical antipathy of the Western world can only lead to misinterpretation and distortion of the Qur’anic message.
But surely the Qur’an does not leave its posterity to grope in confusion eternally, with each person, group, and sect boasting its own interpretation and the antagonists of Islam making a mockery of this faith with their unsympathetic scholarship. Accordingly, it spells out a clear guideline to probing the core or essence of its message - it’s social, moral, and ethical paradigms and its universal principles of justice, equity, liberty, tolerance, forgiveness, religious freedom, and so forth that bear with universal democratic values.
Thus, we ask the Islamic scholars to:
1. Approach the Qur’an with a positive state of mind (al Qur’an 56:79)
2. Focusing only on its definitive verses (Ayatum Muhkamat) – such as those free from any ambiguity (Mutashabihat) (al Qur’an 3:7).
3. Probing into its verses rather than reading them casually (38:29, 47:24).
4. Seeking the best meaning in it (al Qur’an 39:18, 39:55).
5. Employing its vocabulary and illustrations - that is using it as the best exegesis or Tafsir in its own right (al Qur’an 25:33).
However, any exercise to read the Qur’an as a universal discourse, whether in Arabic or in a foreign tongue, must take account of its historical context, linguistic nuances and gender dynamics to avoid any misinterpretation of its message. The interpretive process must free itself from personal or sectarian subjectivities or influence and must be pluralistic. Some may wonder why such a methodology is not already in place in Islam. The answer is simple.
The egalitarian message of the Qur’an challenged the restrictive and enslaving tenets of the ‘Aquida’ and classical Sharia law. Therefore, the Ulema were strongly discouraged from undertaking any critical interpretation of the Qur’an following its internal clues. “According to a number of sources, Imam Abu Hanifa was imprisoned by Caliph al-Mansur (754 – 775) for defying him in religion. Imam Malik Ibn Anas, the founder of another school of law was also flogged during his rule”  Before long, the door to any critical scholarship of the Qur’an was closed by a ruling that “Any Qur’anic verse which contradicts the opinions of ‘our masters’ will be construed as having been abrogated, or the rule of preference will be applied thereto. It is better that the verse is interpreted in such a way that it conforms to their opinion” . A Hadith also came in circulation: “one who discusses about the Book of God, (the Qur'an) makes a mistake, even if he is correct” .
Since the Qur’an is an inextricable factor in Islam, and in the backdrop of almost a century long failed Turkish experience with de-Islamisation, the Qur’an must play a central role in Islam’s pursuit of democracy. Thus, the Qur’an, which also claims to be the Shari’a of Islam as discussed earlier on, must be the foundation upon which an Islamic Democracy is to be built.
Therefore, any Islamic country, attempting to form a democratic state and drafting a national constitution must take into account the Qur’an-rooted universal juristic notions - notably, rational thinking (Fiqha), application of reason (‘Aql), cogitation (Tadabbur), reflection (Fikr); independent intellectual inquiry (Ijtihad), analogical deduction (Qiyas) consensus of the scholar/ community (Ijma / Jama’ah), custom and practice of the community (‘urf), community good (Islah) and the jurists’ best judgment (Istihsan). As these principles are no different from those engaged by secular doctors of law, the proposition should be acceptable to ideologues of all shades including the orthodox, Islamist, Islamic, secular and even the minorities in Muslim majority countries.
Further, the Qur’an does not isolate the Muslims from the rest of humanity (al Qur’an 49:13) and asks them to collaborate with each other, including their enemies in goodness (birre) and moral uprightness (Taqwa) (al Qur’an, 5:2). Therefore, the Muslim doctors of law can feel free to take any Western model, strip it of those specific articles that detract from the Qur’anic message and adapt it to their needs within the broader guidelines of the Qur’anic message.
From the Qur’an’s perspective, all humans stand on equal footing as God’s deputy (Khalifah) on earth and recipients of some of His Spirit (al Qur’an15:29, 32:7-9, 38:72). Therefore, all noble works of man have their origin in God, and human accomplishments in all fields including jurisprudence and governance of a state are nothing but a manifestation of God’s Mercy and Grace.
Therefore, Muslims have no religious basis for rejecting any so-called secular or modern institution, just because its architects are not Muslims as much as they do not reject any good thing of modern life despite their non-Muslim origin. Hence, the rationale of our proposal to appropriating secular democracy in Islam with the exception of those of its elements that expressly conflict with the Qur’anic universal message as stated earlier.
In other words, democratization of the Arab world or any Muslim majority country is not merely holding elections, installing the majority party in power, and changing slogans, signboards, forms, methodologies and protocols in the administration machinery. It must be accompanied with a deconstruction of undemocratic and human rights incompatible paradigms of its theological sources and classical Shari’a law to be compatible and competitive in today’s globalized world. On the other hand, adopting blindly all of the Western democratic ways will lead to other forms of corruption and moral decay.
For any democratization process to be meaningful, stable, and pro-people; the people’s elected representatives must be free to voice their individual views by confidential voting rather than compulsively following the leader of the house. Any such regimentation of legislative process such as in vogue in at least one Islamic country virtually reduces democracy to an authoritarian rule.
Any form of democracy with the label of Islam, must remain committed to privileging justice over consensus, not to turning what is intrinsically wrong into right, not to extending any discriminatory financial benefits or asset allocations or tax and tariff exemptions to the lawmakers or any privileged class, though it may do so for an underprivileged class. Last, but not least, an Islamic democracy, like its secular counterpart, must not discriminate against religious minorities in anyway, and treat women as men’s co-equal (Auliya) in the spirit of the Qur’anic pronouncements on universal brotherhood of humanity (al Qur’an 49:13) and gender equitability (al Qur’an 9:71).
In a nutshell, here is a list of some fundamental principles of an Islamic Democracy for Muslim majority countries to pay heed to (this list is derived from the works of Prof. Khalid Abou El Fadl of UCLA).
We have selected some 10 golden rules for an Islamic Democracy:
1. Any attempt to form a democracy must not be done in a doctrinal vacuum - Must not ignore heritage of the past – take into account their intellectual and moral legacy.
2. Anchored with the Islamic tradition with some level of scrutiny – negotiate between the past and the present but dismiss slavish imitation
3. Must acknowledge and attempt to avoid individual or sectarian subjectivities
4. Establish process of redress, separation and distribution of power
5. Democratic commitments must be explicitly and honestly addressed
6. Seek guidance from specialized authorities (al Qur’an 9:122, 16:43)
7. Allow for pluralism, communal harmony and cooperation commensurate to the Muslims’ role as the justly balanced community (al Qur’an 2:143)
8. Allow for legal opposition
9. Include all parties in the discussion even if they approach with extreme views
10. Provide space for people to discharge their duties and obligations as God’s vicegerent.
This brings us to the question of how best can the Muslims discharge their role as God’s vicegerent or Khalifa.
The Qur’an says, God taught (‘Allama’) Adam the names (Asma’a) of all things (2:31) – the Arabic word ism (pl. Asma’a) denoting the quality, property, broadly speaking knowledge. The Qur’anic notion of knowledge (‘Ilm) encompasses all forms of knowledge as it refers to God as required to pursue universal knowledge to realize their divine heritage. It must have been this notion coupled with the spirit of greater jihad (Jihadan Kabira) – an unremitting struggle for improvement as mentioned earlier and the Qur’an’s liberating paradigms – reasoning (Aql), rational thinking (Fiqh) that led to the phenomenal advancement of knowledge in all the prevalent sciences during the golden period of Islam, let alone its massive translation drive. But that spirit was virtually strangulated in Islam by venerating the theological and traditional sciences as the ultimate of knowledge and dismissing all other branches of knowledge as they evolved and accumulated with time. This notion must be corrected if a democracy has to bring a result comparable to the Western world. Putting in simple terms, democracy on bedrock of medieval knowledge is simply bound to fail today.
Finally, democracy without accountability cannot succeed either in this world or in the eyes of God. The rule of law, whether Islamic or secular, must ensure human dignity, and freedom, regardless of race, religion, sect, or colour. However, the freedom of speech and expression must meet the Qur’anic command of ‘bidding the good and restraining the evil.’ Thus freedom of expression must be allowed to register any protest against perceived injustice from any quarter or to express one’s opinion on any issue or theme - civil, political, economic, religious, or pertaining to any field or domain. However, it must not be used to openly insult the sacred symbols of other faiths, to commit slander and calumny, incite violence, maliciously stereotyping large groups of people such as ethnic minorities or lampooning the physically challenged for example; as such gestures can bring evil rather than good to humanity.
‘Service to humanity is service to God’
This is the sole purpose of man being created as the vicegerent of God.
Muhammad Yunus & Ashfaque Syed
Conference on Islam and Democracy, Washington DC, Hosted by CSID
1. Muhammad Abduh stated:
“(The Western) Reformation included elements by no means unlike Islam. Indeed some of the reforming groups brought their doctrines to a point closely in line with the dogma of Islam.” Extracted from John L.Esposito’s Islam in Transition, New York 1982, p. 27.
2. The Early Imam’s warnings.
“Why do people impose conditions which are not in Allah’s book (kitab il lah)? Whoever imposes such conditions as are not in Allah’s Laws (kitab il lah), then that condition is invalid even if he imposes one hundred such conditions, for Allah’s conditions (as stated in the Qur’an) are truth and more valid” - Imam al-Bukhari [ Sahih al-Bukhari, English translation by Mohsin Khan, New Delhi 1984, Acc. 364, 735/Vol.3.]
"If we discuss about all those accounts which are held authentic (Sahih) before the learned, and suspect by a critical scholar (who demands a proof of personal meeting between the narrators and transmitters of Hadith in each generation), - we would simply be tired (because they are so large in number)." …‘This argument is novel in its approach, and it is wrong that early scholars did not believe in this. Neither is its denial by those who came later, any ground for its repudiation... and God is there to help repudiate what is wrong in the religion of the learned and I trust in Him” – Imam Muslim [Sahih al-Muslim, Urdu translation by Wáhid uz Zaman, Aeteqad Publishing House, New Delhi (year not mentioned), extracted from the Muqaddimah.]
3. List of Ahadith mentioned in al-Bukhari that, read on face value, promote sexuality, induce terrorism, foment inter-faith hatred, stand deeply misogynist, and scientifically untenable
3.1 Promoting sexuality
Institutionalizing prostitution by allowing a man to marry a woman temporarily by giving her even a garment" [Acc.139/Vol.6], Allowing coitus interruptus as well as sex with female captives of war [Acc.137/Vol.7], Fondling a female pregnant slave [chapter 113/Vol.3], (The Prophet) Solomon, went round (had sexual relations with) one hundred women (his wives) in one night [Acc.169/Vol.7]. The angels curse a woman till morning who declines her husband’s invitation to sleep with him. [Acc.121, 122/Vol.7]
3.2. Accounts attributing superior sexual power to the Prophet
The Prophet embedded all of his nine to eleven wives in round during the day and night (Acc.268, 270, 282/Vol.1, Acc. 34/Vol.3, Acc.6, 142/Vol.7); shared bath from a single pot with his youngest wife Aisha (Acc. 272, 298/Vol.1), and fondled his wives when they were in menses by getting them to wear the Izar (dress worn below the waist) (Acc. 298, 299, 300/Vol.1).
3.3. Induce terrorism.
The Prophet ordered amputation of hands and feet, branding of eye with heated nails and dumping on rocky train without any water to die from bleeding punish some men Ukul tribe who had committed theft, murder and apostasy (Vol.1, Acc. 234, Vol.2, Acc. 577, Vol.4, Acc. 261-A, Vol.5, Acc. 505, 507, Vol.8, Acc.796.), he did not allow cauterizing of their amputated hands and feet until they died (Vol.8, Acc. 794, 797). He ordered the amputation of some men of ‘Uraina who fought against (Allah and His Messenger) and did not cauterise the wounds until they (bled and) died (Vol.8, Acc.795). He killed the men and distributed the women, children and property of Banu Quraizah among the Muslims (Acc. 280/ Vol.1), and exiled all the Jews from Medina (Acc. 280/ Vol.1, 362/ Vol. 5), he ordered to kill anyone (Muslim) who left Islam (Acc. 260/ Vol.1); he burnt and cut-down the palm trees of Bani al-Nadir (Acc. 365, 366/ Vol.5).
3.3. Fomenting Inter-faith hatred.
The Prophet cursed the Jews and the Christians during the last hours of his life for they built the places of worship at the graves of their Prophets [Vol.1/ Acc. 427], he cursed the Jews for they melted it and sold the fat of animals [Vol.6/ Acc.156], though trading and eating of fat was forbidden to them [Vol.3/ Acc. 426,427,438], Ibn Umar forbade marriage of a Muslim man with a Christian lady or a Jewess as they ascribed partners in worship to Allah. [Vol.7/ Account 209/Vol.7]
3.4. Deeply Misogynist
The majority of the dwellers of hell-fire will be women as they frequently curse their husbands, are ungrateful to them due to deficiency in intelligence and religion, and have power to lead a cautious sensible man astray [Acc.28, 301/Vol.1, Acc. 541/Vol.2]. A woman (`that is sterile or discontented or impudent') can be a bad omen [Vo.7/ Acc.649, 666.
3.5. Scientifically Untenable
The sun goes down every day under the Throne (of God) and takes permission to rise again [Vol.4/ Acc.421]. A human is put together in the womb of the mother in forty days, and then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period, then a piece of flesh for a similar period... [Vol.4/ Acc.430], Fever is from the heat of hell [Vol.7/ Acc. 619, 620, 621, 622/Volume 7], Cupping operations or branding (cauterization) offer best for healing of wounds [Vol.7/ Acc. 584, 585 and 587, 605], One should run away from the leper as one runs away from the lion. [Vol.7/ Acc.608/], No contagious disease is conveyed to others without Allah's permission, and there is nor any evil omen in the month of Safar, nor Hama. [Vol.7/ Acc.665 (A)], Vol.4/ Acc. 518, 527, 528]
4. Self-Contradictory Accounts.
Hajj is redemption of all past sins [Vol.2, Acc. 596]. The reward for hajj is commensurate to the hardship undertaken for it [Vol.3, Acc. 15].
The dog is a clean animal as dogs used to roam about the Prophet’s mosque and even urinate there [Vol.1, Acc. 174]. The dog is an unclean animal, and so if a dog eats from a container, it is to be washed seven times to purify it before human use [Vol.1, Acc. 173].
The dog is a blessed creature as a man was promised Paradise by God because he brought water from a well to quench the thirst of a dog [Vol.1, Acc. 174]. The dog is an accursed creature as its sale is forbidden [Vol.3, Acc. 439, 440].
The Prophet forbade the killing of women and children [Vol.4, Acc. 257, 258]. The Prophet tacitly approved the killing of pagans at night when women were also exposed (and could be killed during attack) [Vol.4, Acc. 256].
5. Era Specific Hadith that have no relevance whatsoever today:
Forbidding Muslims from carrying the Qur’an to a hostile land [Vol.4, Acc. 233], keeping agricultural implements at homes [Vol.3, Acc. 514], taking the price of a dog [Vol.3, Acc. 439, 440], or selling fruits until they are ripe and red [Vol.1, Acc. 565].
6. Benjamin Walker, Foundation of Islam, The Making of a World Faith, Peter Owen Publishers, U.K. p. 316.].
7. Kenneth Cragg, The Event of the Qur’an, One world Publications, Rockport, USA 1974, p. 22/23.
9. Ahmad Hussain, Doctrine of Ijma in Islam, New Delhi, 1992, p.16
10. Sanan Abu Daud, Urdu translation by Wáhid uz Zaman, Vol.3, Acc. 253, p. 118.
Ashfaque Syed’s speech on the presentation starts at about 49 minutes 30 seconds point in the time bar in the followingVideo:
URL of the Video on New Age Islam: