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User name "TheOrthodoxLiberal" is inspired by the oddity of the fact that among the four main Islamic schools of fiqh, the Hanafi school is considered as the most "liberal" in our present times, and yet, were we to define the oldest opinions as the "conservative" opinions in Islam, then ironically, because Imam Abu Hanifa was born before the other three Imam-e-Arba' (the four great Imams), the Hanafis happen to be simultaneously the most orthodox too.
Additionally, the Hanbali school of fiqh, which can be argued as the most restrictive and strict traditionalist school of jurisprudence, happens to be the youngest of the four. The Muslim Wahhabism movement draws on the teachings of that same early jurist Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal.
Of course, the above is a pretty simplistic (and quite possibly an incorrect) representation of a very complicated historical scenario.
- The causes of Muslim polarisation (Article notes)
- /Critique:Jihad, and the Foreign Policy of the Khilafah State
- /Notes on Javed Ahmad Ghamidi (In order to preempt vehement Ghamidi critics, I'm not a follower of Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, but only someone interested in his arguments.)
The three groups of Hadith followers
I'm not a scholar, the following is according to my imperfect, limited understanding.
Regarding the Qur'an there is, generally speaking, little opinion difference among Muslims on it being a part of scripture. There might be dispute on the interpretation of specific verses, but not on whether each verse of the Qur'an is an undeniable part of religion or not.
Concerning the Hadith, however, there is significant debate on the matter. Following and acceptance of Hadith as scripture can be categorised into three main groups.
- The first group believes in the entirety of the Hadith literature. Whatever has ended up in some book of Hadith, canonical or not, is an indisputable part of Islam and has to be followed literally and in its entirety by Muslims until the end-of-time. This group constitutes the majority of conservative lay-Muslims. They would, at times, even go a step further by drawing religious rulings from things unmentioned in the Hadith literature. For example, since we have no record of birthdays being celebrated by Prophet Muhammad and his companions, then it must mean that celebrating birthdays is haraam (prohibited) in Islam.
This group may be theologically entirely mistaken, but nevertheless, is important to mention since it makes up majority of the Muslim population.
- The second group is of conservatives, actual scholars or those who've done some minor research into Islam, who accept that not every, single recorded hadith is to be understood literally and accepted as part of scripture. Aside from looking at the grade of reliability for a particular narration (sahih, hasan, da'if), it also has to be considered holistically in the context of other related Qur'anic verses and ahadith because there do happen to be some ahadith which contradict, at least superficially, other hadith or some Qur'an verse. For example, Sunan Abi Dawud 4464 and 4465 give completely opposite religion-inspired punishment rulings for the same sin.
Although this group has a more cautious way of looking at the hadith, they still start off from the point of accepting all hadith (sahih and hasan) as part of religion and it is only when one hadith would contradict another or a divine verse, do they start questioning its acceptance.
It should also be pointed out that the more culturally conservative an individual is, the more their interpretations would tend to lean towards the first group. For example, they might accept that since celebrating birthdays haven't explicitly been forbidden in any scripture, therefore they are not prohibited per se, however, since they involve other discouraged practices like wastage of money and time etc., employing indirect evidence, they can still be argued as forbidden. Numerous similar examples of catering to one's culture, whether conservative or liberal, and attempting to justify it exist.
The second and third groups represent more of a range of people rather than clearly divided groups. Essentially, the more culturally conservative one is, the nearer they are towards the second group's spectrum and as they become more and more culturally liberal they start to shift towards the third group.
- The third group is opposite to the second in the sense that in contrast to conservatives, they essentially start off from the position of rejecting Hadith as part of religion by default. This group would argue that first some additional conditions have to be met before a hadith can be accepted as scripture. According to them, the subject of a hadith has to be something which in its essence is religious, if not, it has to be explicitly defined as religious, or it has to be referring to something in the Qur'an. Their reasoning is based on Sahih Muslim 2361, where Prophet Muhammad advises the people that they don't necessarily have to follow him regarding worldly matters.
Furthermore, this group argues that due to his position as a prophet, it was Prophet Muhammad's responsibility to spread the religion far and wide, therefore the hadith also has to have been addressed to a large gathering and/or widely disseminated.[n 1] They argue that it is impossible to expect the Prophet to have expressed something as significant as a religious rule, which is supposed to remain enforced till the day of Judgement, in a private exclusive meeting. Majority of Hadith literature is made of such private discussions limited to only the Prophet and a few individuals.
Notably, at the far-end of the liberal spectrum are the Quranists, the Hadith-rejectors, who believe that the Qur'an on its own is enough and only it should be accepted as scripture. However, this interpretation is difficult to defend since there happen to be specific ahadith whose historical reliability parallels, or arguably even surpasses, that of the Qur'an. For example, the ahadith detailing the methods of religious rituals, such as Salaat, Hajj etc., which are ostensibly transmitted by dozens if not hundreds of witnesses.
- Though, I'm not sure whether this is a necessary clause or not.
|“||If you can’t stop it, regulate it.||”|
|“||All societies love the heretics of other societies.[q 1]||”|
|“||The most obvious, absolute, and unqualified, form of injustice is hypocrisy.||”|
|“||Foreign adversaries rarely do as much harm to a people, as the people do to themselves.||”|
|“||People will always take the easier route, the path which encounters least resistance and hardships.[q 2]||”|
|“||Sometimes, more important than choosing the best, most efficient solution, is for the people to be united in their choice.||”|
|“||The only time justice can be found against the powerful is when a second even more powerful group decides to obtain that justice for the weak.||”|
|“||Amongst the reasons why terrorism doesn't work, one such being that it underestimates the very trait it seeks to overcome, i.e. human indifference.[q 3]||”|
|“||Whenever a society experiences some huge injustice, a normally visible split results in the division of the society into two significant polarised groups. One preferring quite reformation, the other, explosive revolution.[q 4]||”|
- Or, all societies love the heretics of [their conflicting] societies. Conservatives are often, if not always, found to have great appreciation and respect towards the liberals of societies they see themselves in conflict with, while at the same time disparaging their own liberal communities and ideals.
- In other words, the Theory or Law of Convenience as it is sometimes referred to. Also similar to Newton's First Law of Motion. Generally speaking, for a group of people of sufficient sample size, in the presence of two potential paths to choose from, if one wants to predict which path shall eventually be taken, one only has to quantify which path would appear presently as more convenient for the people. There happen to be a number of variables involved in this theoretical quantification, the most significant by far among them, being related to economic rewards. Others being linked to ideology, morality, environment etc.
Similar holds true for people on a personal individual level too, however, in such cases the convenience quantification is much too complicated, much too fickle, to provide with valid workable conclusions most of the time. While societies can be studied and their behaviours predicted more easily on a macro scale, predicting individual behaviour would normally require much more detailed base information and consequent work.
- The indifference of rest of the world regarding whatever made the terrorists commit their violent act. Additionally, the convenience with which people in power can use those few minutes of fame immediately following the violence, for their own purposes; primarily because they are permitted to do so by the people, who-in-turn, generally speaking, look for the most convenient explanation. The convenient explanation being one which allows rejection or ignorance of introspection, acceptance of personal responsibility and guilt. Basically, another under-estimation of the people’s involuntary, and sometimes unrealised, desire to not have to be burdened with complicated explanations, to not have to think too much.
- ... the other motivated to walk on a more revolutionary path.
The first group finds it easier to postpone justice, basically resigning themselves to following the "arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice" paradigm. This group usually consists of individuals who by fortune's grace escaped experiencing the injustice which plagues their people, or those who have more things to potentially lose and still have significant opportunities to move forward in life and their pursuit of happiness. In the context of a foreign occupation, they would be termed as the collaborators, in a Western economic context, as neo-Liberals. The second group, usually affected directly by the injustice, having bore the brunt of it, are not as easily convinced to just "wait it out". Motivated - even convinced - to follow the path of excited revolution rather than quite reformation and in cases the injustice was harsh enough, go as far as to even advocate for burning the enire system down and starting all-over from scratch. The famous French Revolution (partly against the nation's aristocracy) or the 2016 US elections would appear to be some relatable examples.
Musa b. Talha reported:
I and Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) happened to pass by people near the date-palm trees. He (the Holy Prophet) said: What are these people doing? They said: They are grafting, i. e. they combine the male with the female (tree) and thus they yield more fruit. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said: I do not find it to be of any use. The people were informed about it and they abandoned this practice. Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) (was later) on informed (that the yield had dwindled), whereupon he said: If there is any use of it, then they should do it, for it was just a personal opinion of mine, and do not go after my personal opinion; but when I say to you anything on behalf of Allah, then do accept it, for I do not attribute lie to Allah, the Exalted and Glorious.
— Sahih Muslim 2361 
Imam Shafi'i while defining his maslak said that I call out the opinions of others as wrong but am always ready to accept that maybe they are correct. Furthermore, I call my opinion as correct but am always ready to hear that it might be incorrect.
Islahi criticizes people who follow the argument that those, from our forefathers, who have already thought about such religious issues, their reasoning is enough, and now we don't need to think about it anymore. On the contrary, it should be so that only when the evidences of our predecessors have been thoroughly analysed, their conclusions are in a position to be acceptable.
Islahi also talks about how Muslim Aima also say that only those practice our conclusions who have already understood our evidences, people who haven't understood them, don't practice our conclusions, nor invite others to practice them either.
Humiliation without hope leads to despair and to the nurturing of a yearning for revenge that can easily turn into an impulse toward destruction. If you cannot reach the level of those you feel are humiliating you, at lease you can drag them down to your level. — Dominique Moisi, The Geopolitics of Emotion: How Cultures of Fear, Humiliation, and Hope are Reshaping the World
- Sunan Abi Dawud 4464, Book 40, Hadith 114 (In-book reference), Book 39 or 38, Hadith 4449 (English Reference) | Grade: Hasan Sahih (Al-Albani)
- Sunan Abi Dawud 4465, Book 40, Hadith 115 (In-book reference), Book 39 or 38, Hadith 4450 (English Reference) | Grade: Hasan (Al-Albani)
- Sahih Muslim 2361, Book 43, Hadith 184 (In-book reference), Book 30, Hadith 5830 (English Reference)
- Convenience theory (See section 2.1, What is convenience?). tkdtutor.com. Retrieved 2018-05-15.
- Michalski, Jerry (24 Aug 2002). "The Law of Convenience". Do You Sociate?. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
- Sahih Muslim 2361, Book 43, Hadith 184 (In-book reference), Book 30, Hadith 5830 (English Reference)
- Moisi, Dominique (2009-05-05). The Geopolitics of Emotion: How Cultures of Fear, Humiliation, and Hope are Reshaping the World. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 57. ISBN 9780385525367. As cited in Gamage, Daya (9 December 2017). "Humiliation: (of) Sri Lanka – Russians – Iranians & Tamils". Asian Tribune. Retrieved 2017-12-28.