Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Besides the Koran, What Does the Sunnah Say?
Today, there is much debate about the suras and verses of the Koran and how they should be interpreted. Critics point to the hateful and violent verses that urge followers to kill non-Muslims and apostates. Many Western Muslims and their supporters point to the peaceful verses in the
Koran as evidence that Islam is really a religion of peace and tolerance. To that critics respond that the Koran is not arranged chronologically, and that it is necessary to arrange the suras in order of time since the latter verses (during the Medina period of Mohammad's life) are the most violent and intolerant while the earlier verses (during the early days of Mohammad's prophecy in Mecca) are the more peaceful. While Muslims believe the Koran represents the word of Allah as given to Mohammad by the angel Gabriel (Jibril), many non-Muslims and critics of Islam believe it is really the words and thoughts of Mohammad himself.
Aside from the Koran, Muslims also rely on the Sunnah, the verbally reported teachings, sayings and deeds of Mohammad as well as the hadith, the quoted sayings of Mohammad as reported by his followers and associates and carried through the centuries. The validity of the hadiths is studied and verified by scholars based on the documented chain of reporting, a rather complicated process.
Recently, I purchased a volume of the Sunnah entitled as follows:
Fiqh us Sunnah
The Doctrinal Writings of the Sunna of the Holy Prophet
Rendered to Englsih (sic) by
F. Amira Zrein Matraji
Corrected and Revised by Mahmoud Matraji
Dar El Fikr, Beirut
Most of the volume deals with issues of marriage and women. It also deals with apostates, gays and punishments like lashing and stoning. There are also passages by the author relative to modern times such as women students at Cairo University, dress, etc.
There are several verses in this book which I feel are important to answer the questions of how Islam really deals with issues of women, apostates, gays, and non-Muslims. There are many typos and misspelled words in this texts. Here are some excerpts. The texts discuss adultery, homosexuality and apostasy.
The Parts of the Fornicators
"The fornicator is either a virgin or married-for every one of them specific a judgment." (p 277)
The Punishment of the Virgin
"The jurisprudents had agreed that the free virgin, if he/she had committed fornication, is lashed one hundred lashes; whether men or women. As to the saying of Allah (glory be to Him) in (The Light) Sura:
The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication, flog each of them with a hundred stripes: Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last day: And let a party of the believers witness their punishment. (24:2 Koran)" (pp 77-78)
The Punishment of the Married
"But the previously married. the jurisprudents had agreed on the obligation of stoning him if he commits fornication until he dies, whether a man or a woman. They deduced with what follows:
1 "On the authority of Abu Huraira who said: Ajan came to the Messenger of Allah (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) while he was in the Mosque. He called him, and said: O' Messenger of Allagh: I had committed fornication. he turned away from him. he repeated that four times. When he testified himself four witnesses, the Holy Prophet (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) called him, and said: Are you insane?...He said: No. he said: Had you married? He said: yes. Thereupon the Holy Prophet (may the blessings and peace be upon him) said: Take him and stone him......" (pp 279-280)
Pages 295-297 described the digging for the stoned person and presence of an imam and witnesses to the stoning.
Sodomy (From the texts, it is clear that this refers to homosexuals.)
"Ye also sent Lute: He said to his people: Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation ever committed before you? For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women...". (7: 80-84 Koran) (p 298)
The Opinion of the Jurisprudents in the Judgment of the Sodomy (PP 303-305)
" With the consensus of the savants or the forbiddance of this crime, and with the obligation of taking its committers with the severity, except they disputed in estimating the determined punishment for it to be of three creeds:
1 The creed of those who say with the absolute killing.
2 The creed of those who say that its punishment is like that of the fornication: The virgin is flogged, and the married is stoned.
3 The creed of those who say with the reprimanding."
The Punishment of the Apostated
The Meaning of the Verse (p 327)
"That who returns back from Islam to the atheism and who continues on it until he dies is an unbeliever, then all what he did of good is void, and has forbidden its fruit in the world. Then he would not have what is for the Muslims of rights-and the pleasure of the hereafter is forbidden on him, and he is eternal in the grevious (sic) torment. The Islam had determined a hurried punishment in the world for the apostate, extra to that, what he promised him of torment awaiting for him in the Hereafter-That punishment is the killing,
That who changes his religion, kill him." (p 327)
"Any man who apostates from Islam, call him back. If he repents, or else strike his neck. And any woman who apostates from Islam, call her back. If she returns back, or else strike her neck."
"This is a text in the spot of dispute:
This was related by Al-Baihaqi, and Ad-Darqatni that Abu Bakr had asked a woman called, the mother of Qurfa who turned to atheism after her Islam. She did not repent and he killed her.
But the hadith of forbiddance from killing the woman, that was in the state of war, because their weakness and unassociating (sic) in the war. Because of that, it was the reason from prohibiting from killing them, that the Holy Prophet (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) had seen a slain woman. Thereupon he said: This was not to be fought.
Then he had forbidden from killing them.
The woman shares the man in all the punishments with no exception. As the punishment of stoning is established on her if she were married, as well the punishment of apostasy is established on her and there is no difference." (p 329)
There is so much more, but it's a fairly big book. At any rate, rather than throw out my own beliefs, it is better to use the words of Muslims themselves- especially their scholars. As always, my Muslim readers are invited to respond and comment.