On troubling Hadiths

A few thoughts on hadiths and religion in general:
I had a difficult relationship with religion while I was growing up. As a child, I used to be a voracious reader and stumbled upon lots of things, including the Hadith collection my parents had. Now there was one particular Hadith that I read when i was about 10 - which was a real shock to the system. I cannot emphasize how shocking - and how much impact it had - but in any case, it’s something that troubled me for a long long time. Frankly I couldn’t believe it. And it wasn’t something you could speak about to people - a) it was extremely indecent or so I felt as a child ( and the horror of having found it in a Hadith collection, can you imagine) and b) not the sort of thing you can broach to ‘religious’ people very easily - and plus the whole ‘ forbidden areas of thinking’ thing. I felt terribly alone - had anyone else read this stuff? what did they think about it if they had? no answers for a long time.

Now fast forward to the days where you can look up anything on the net -hooray ! and ask all sorts of people questions on the internet and generally find out more about what’s going on in other people’s heads. I’ve had some discussions about this hadith - but not too many -and then I tracked it down just to be sure i hadn’t dreamed it up, thanks to the USC MSa Compendium of Muslim texts which is searchable and a handy resource.

And of course as a child I had no idea about sex slavery or concubinage (whatever you want to call it) - or that islamic fiqh had regulated the conditions of slavery. of course the war booty thing ties in with the ‘taking women ransom’ but I’d never heard such justifications back then. If i had, i’m sure my feelings at the time of the Iraq invasion would have been even more complicated. {and plus all the stories you hear from relatives in bangladesh about the pakistani soldiers raping women in the war} These sorts of things are everywhere, but you don’t expect to read about them in compilations of ‘religious texts’. Why doesn’t it bother more people that’s what I wanted to know, what I still want to know, or how it can be ‘rationalised’. Some people are thinking about these knotty issues, but most people will brush them under the carpet. I daresay that is the natural thing to do - avoid controversy.

The Hadith in question is taken from Sahih Muslim, Book 8 which is the The Book of Marriage” (Kitab Al-Nikah)

Chapter 22: AL AZL (INCOMPLETE SEXUAL INTERCOURSE): COITUS INTERRUPTUS

Book 008, Number 3371:

“Abu Sirma said to Abu Sa’id al Khadri (Allah he pleased with him): 0 Abu Sa’id, did you hear Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) mentioning al-’azl? He said: Yes, and added: We went out with Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to the Bi’l-Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them. So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing ‘azl (Withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid-conception). But we said: We are doing an act whereas Allah’s Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him? So we asked Allah’s Mes- senger (may peace be upon him), and he said: It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born.

So that’s pretty much what rocked my boat: I don’t know what people manage to rationalize as adults but as a child that was pretty damn shocking to me, particularly given what I was told by my Mother about the ‘morals of sexuality in Islam’.

The next few narrations in Sahih Muslim which touch on this as well:

Book 008, Number 3372: A hadith like this has been narrated on the authority of Habban with the same chain of transmitters (but with this alteration) that he said:” Allah has ordained whom he has to create until the Day of judgment.” Book 008, Number 3373: Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (Allah be pleased with him) reported: We took women captives, and we wanted to do ‘azl with them. We then asked Allah’s Messen- ger (may peace be upon him) about it, and he said to us: Verily you do it, verily you do it, verily you do it, but the soul which has to be born until the Day of judgment must be born. Book 008, Number 3381: Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) was asked about ‘azl, whereupon he said: The child does not come from all the liquid (semen) and when Allah intends to create anything nothing can prevent it (from coming into existence). Book 008, Number 3377: Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (Allah be pleased with him) reported that mention was made of ‘azl in the presence of Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) whereupon he said: Why do you practise it? They said: There is a man whose wife has to suckle the child, and if that person has a sexual intercourse with her (she may conceive) which he does not like, and there is another person who has a slave-girl and he has a sexual intercourse with her, but he does not like her to have conception so that she may not become Umm Walad, whereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: There is no harm if you do not do that, for that (the birth of the child) is something pre- ordained. Ibn ‘Aun said: I made a mention of this hadith to Hasan, and he said: By Allah, (it seems) as if there is upbraiding in it (for ‘azl).”

Apparently the reason they seem to talk about this “al-azl” thing so much is all tied up with the permissibility of contraception, or so it seems. So that’s what the men were bothered about: contraception - not - oh is it okay if i just have a quickie with this woman captive/slave girl here? and personally what i found the most shocking was that the Prophet was amongst them at the time - so what was he doing there while these men were ‘enjoying’ the captive women? I really had a lot of trouble with this one - once I’d read that I felt really resentful when as a teenager - time and time again- people would say ‘well we are all very moral people. we do not believe in boyfriends or girlfriends’. Sure aunties and uncles..i wanted to say..how do you explain this stuff then? {but of course good asian girls are not mean to answer back to the ‘community’ are they now, oh no}
Wholesome reading isn’t it. I can’t understand personally when you have lurid tales like these why anyone is bothered about cartoons. It seems to me if there is anything that would defame the character of a Holy Prophet then Hadiths like this one are the culprit. Would I choose to accept this as ‘religious tradition’ - well no of course not. If this is meant to be true then I can’t say honestly that I am impressed at all.
A note on inauthentic and authentic hadiths: These Hadiths are from the Sahih Muslim collection. For a long time I was vaguely aware that there were ‘weak’’ hadiths around - basically Hadiths that were ‘questionable’ and didn’t have a reliable ‘chain’ of narration. So for a while I assumed that this creepy stuff about coitus interruptus with captive women would surely fall into the ‘questionable’ camp, oh no - it turned out to be in Sahih Muslim - which according to Sunni tradition after Sahih Bukharis meant to be the two most reliable ones! ( don’t take my word for it - read the wikipedia links below). Well as far as I know anyway - i’d love it if someone came along and said, actually this stuff is bollocks too. Apparently Shias dismiss Sahih Muslim as inauthentic - I wonder why?
“A Sahih hadith is the one which has a continuous isnad, made up of reporters of trustworthy memory from similar authorities, and which is found to be free from any irregularities (i.e. in the text) or defects (i.e. in the isnad)”

wikipedia tells us that:

Muhammad’s sayings and deeds are called sunnah and are transmitted through hadith. Imam Muslim (full name Abul Husain Muslim bin al-Hajjaj al-Nisapuri) was born in 202 A.H. and died in 261 A.H. He traveled widely to gather his collection of ahadith, including to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Egypt. Out of 300,000 ahadith which he evaluated, only 4,000 approximately were extracted for inclusion into his collection based on stringent acceptance criteria. Each report in his collection was checked for compatibility with the Qur’an, and the veracity of the chain of reporters had to be painstakingly established. Muslim was a student of Bukhari and Ahmad ibn Hanbal.

It is important to realize, however, that Imam Muslim never claimed to collect all authentic traditions. He tried to collect only traditions that all Muslims should agree on its accuracy. There are other scholars who worked as Muslim did and collected other authentic reports. After Sahih Bukhari, this is the most authentic hadith collection in the Sunni perspective.

According to Munziri, there are a total of 2200 hadiths (with no repetition) in Sahih Muslim. This would bring the total of Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim to 3000 hadiths. According to most Hadith scholars[1], there are 1400 authentic hadiths that are reported in other books (mainly the Six major Hadith collections).

fabricated hadith

Comments

  1. Sid wrote:

    hmmm interesting. I can see that that can be quite troubling for a youngster to come across after being fed a lifetime of conservative bengali muslim sexual morality.

    you have to remember tho that the past is another country and 7th century arabia is as distant as you can get from today’s value system. the koran and hadith are filled with scandalous stories, as is the Bible and the Torah, but they were committed/recounted for an audience that had a completely different set of cultural norms than we do today. since the Prophet already licensed the use of female slaves for men for sex (all that ‘right hand’ stuff), it’s immaterial if a few horny sahabeen get it off with some, as the hadith suggests. the Prophet, if anything, was probably more impressed by their good sense of considering coitus-interruptus to as to avoid getting the slave girls in the family way!

    this hadith is interesting in one big way. it can be used against conservative muslim attitudes in bangladesh against the resistance to contracepion, which NGOs have had to counter for decades. could be argued along the lines of: ‘if coitus-interruptus is good enough for the prophet, a condom is good enough for you, yer dirty bastards’.

  2. Ms_Xtreme wrote:

    Thank the Lord people are starting to realise something I’ve been banging on about for over 2 years now. Firstly, I’d like to say I’m not a scholor or an imam, and in my opinion, I don’t have to be in order to be close to God (am).

    You’re absolutely right about everything you’ve said. But let me shine some more light on the history of hadith for just a moment. I’v devoted much time and effort into studying hadith and the Quran in the past 3-4 years. As a child, like everyone else, I was taught to read the Quran quickly and memorize it (the arabic version), never once was I instructed to read it in a language I understood and follow it. After I turned 16, a scary event happened that caused me to move here to the UK. Once I moved here, I had a new group of friends and a wise old man who told me things that went against everything I was taught (religiously).

    Anyways.. hadith was written down 200+ years after the death of the Prophet (pbuh). There are sahih hadiths that tell you that people should follow the Quran and the Quran only, and not go by how the Prophet lived his life - and then there’s hadiths that say that you’re not a muslim if you don’t live like the Prophet did.

    There are way too many contradictions still in sahih hadiths, and I’ve had this debate time and time again with “hafiz” people who are ready to tell me I’m an infidel.

    I’ve begun to live my life by the Quran (infancy stages really), and I do still read hadith because it helps me in understanding the background of some of the verses in the Quran. HOWEVER, if I come across a hadith that completely contradicts the Quran, why would I even look at it twice?

    I suggest you expand your knowledge base by first turning to the Quran. I’m sorry about the confusion in your childhood, and hope that you can reaffirm the need to know what you really have to do as a believer rather than fit the social criteria of people’s beliefs. Remember, the Quran says that you’ll be judged alone, and no other entity will take fault or credit for anything you do. Good Luck dear.

    An Xtremist

  3. sonia wrote:

    Hi there guys - Sid yes this hadith is used to support contraception. I hear what you’re saying Sid - and frankly i think most Muslims don’t know about this stuff. But some do - and clearly some use it to justify their ‘use’ of their modern day slave equivalents : as you and I both know quite a few men in the Middle East are busy having sex with their housemaids (you have some superb posts on this) Would some of them not feel ( if they then chanced across this Hadith) that they might be morally justified? Or the ‘right hands possess’ thing in itself - which  came out of the Quran - or an extremely strange understanding of that phrase in the Quran - anway. ( why not oranges? and why if something is in verse -which the Quran can it be said to be ‘watertight interpretation’. I have so many questions.)
    Also yes it is a completely different landscape today - but is it? The ‘mullah men’ i have come across unfortunately don’t seem fazed by this sort of thing at all. To go about this in a round about kind of way - i feel finding out about all this stuff is kind of giving me an inkling where and how they have managed to acquire and keep bizarre ideas on women. THAT is what worries me really. And also - explains why Egyptian extremists in the 90s might have actually thought God might approve of their tactic to go around and forcibly rape, convert and marry Egyptian Christian women. No? Or am I way off base there?

    My point is if you have a warped morality ( by current day standards) surely you would cry Halleluja if you read stuff like that? Given how we cannot ‘question’ religion and Islam is ‘valid for all times’ - this is ‘heaven-sent’ to excuse my pun.

    Ms Xtreme - thanks for your extremely enlightening comments and your encouragement. I’m glad I’m not the only one, it is very valuable to hear other people’s experiences. I agree when confusion like this reigns, proper study for oneself is the only ’solution’. We’ve got to all find our answers for ourselves. I think we have all had the ‘learn Arabic by rote’ thing = though when i was 7 we moved to the Middle East and I started studying ‘arabic’ properly at school ( though I still didn’t learn very much!) but yes generally not many people seem to think one should read the Quran.
    {You might be interested in seeing the looong essays people have been writing on the comments thread on this post on my other blog. Also there is an interesting offshoot which is that this has of course sparked discussion amongst some ‘traditionalists’ - some one left a link on the comments - and that discussion in itself is also interesting. If somewhat worrying.}

    I have to admit that I did not read the Quran much as a child or a teenager - very little. What I read I did not like much either. ( too much hellfire) and some of the verses were ‘nice’ and poetic, but still, it scared me so much I didn’t look at it for years. Now I have started reading it again - and well - let’s see. I shall make the effort to study it through - and I have started reading the tafsirs as well. So let’s see where that gets me -though I have a feeling it will be somewhere further along the road towards not really believing in ‘revealed religion’ per se. But if that happens, then at least I can be honest with myself about what I think, instead of this mixed-up state of being made to feel guilty -which i’ve been in all this time.

    I admire you Ms Xtreme for being able to stick to what you believe - and your comment about never mind matching the social criteria of other people’s beliefs is a very prescient one.

  4. Ms_Xtreme wrote:

    Sonia, it saddens me a bit that you take the text of the Quran so literally and see it as emotional brutality. In my own experience, it is not so. As I said, I memorized the end surah’s of the Quran as a child, never knowing what they meant (heck, I didn’t even know surahs Falak and Nas were to help me from the one thing I fear most, and still fear - the unseen).

    I have a couple questions for you, or should I say, a couple directions. Please make sure that the interpretation of the Quran that you’re reading isn’t one that has Hadith mixed into it (usually they’re in parins so that they’re not mistaken to be part of the verse). I would not recommend that you read the tafsir just yet, I think it’s important you read JUST the verses of the Quran and decide how you want to take it.

    Sometimes, having hadith and tafsir mixed into verses will make you confused and make you question it (it’s what happened to me when I first started really studying the Quran).

    Secondly, I’d like to just say, most people take the verses in the Quran, whether or not they apply to this day and age, and try to literally apply it to their lives. Um, this isn’t really logical. If you see the Quran as a guide to how to live your life, it’ll be much easier.

    LOL @ the hellfire scariness. Remember, cause and consequence. That’s all it really is doing. It tells you, you lie, this is what your punishment will be. Then the very next verse is “But God is forgiving, ever merciful.” So basically, none of us know whats to become of us. =)

  5. sonia wrote:

    hi ms xtreme, thanks for your comments. i realise a lot of the quran commentary is precisely that - commentary - hence i thought if i knew which bit is tafsir and which bit is ‘original verse’ it might make more sense. don’t worry - i would hardly try and apply things literally out of the Quran - it’s the Mullahs who try and do that. The very idea of a ‘manual’ for life is quite ludicrous - i’m sure any God should ‘It’ exist would find such a concept quite a giggle.

    But at the end of the day - I don’t think i particularly ‘revere’ the Quran either - automatically - anyway. I shall see what’s in it - and if I find something positive then that’s good, and if i don’t - then that’s that. What I have read so far sounded incredibly human - which perhaps takes the sting out of it. The verses I read sound like an angry king. Which doesn’t affect me much personally - I just think - how interesting that after all this talk of mystic otherwordliness the Speaker sounds like a human who wants attention, and is going about it through rather childish means. Of course some of the verse by itself is interesting from a literature perspective - ( regardless of any religious value) - though when you read English translations, this doesn’t come across, and it all sounds a bit strange in English i think. There are a lot of strange stories in it but actually if one treats it as folklore that is pretty interesting in itself.

    I don’t think believing in God, or being interested in the metaphysical - necessarily means one has to accept God as the kind of ‘deity’ that ‘communicated’ with ‘humans’ through ‘texts’. that is a very particular human supposition - and while it may be true - there is no way of knowing of course. Yes I do think if there are people saying ‘this is a text from God’ it is interesting to examine it, but i feel the ‘thinking it is from God’ is no doubt clouding/colouring people’s response to the text. It coloured mine - and I think now i’m trying to ‘decolour’ it. But in any case, I don’t believe that any God would think they could send down a ‘manual’ for human life - there is no such thing - it is a very simplistic human type of thing to think there could be a ‘manual’ or such a thing as a pat answer to everything. Also appealing to human reason is another thing and trying to ’scare’ them is another - unfortunately I think this is much more of a human trait than anything else. It sounds like the kind of not very logical reasoning a Mullah would take. God - if omniscient - would have known - that a large part of the population would not accept the carrot and stick approach. So unless God wanted to play games with us - as a sort of ‘elaborate chinese whispers’ in the desert kind of game, it seems to me to be fruitless to try and impute motives to God. Especially when those motives may serve dodgy human purposes.

  6. Ms_Xtreme wrote:

    Hello again dear,

    Have you read the Quran (verses only) thoroughly in English? I hope that some of the claims you’re making are informed ones, because I do have to disagree with your perception that its angry text. I’ve read the Quran thoroughly several times, as I’ve said before.

    The stories are not folklore, but provide guidance to someone wishing to follow them. Once again, I personally take the Quran as a means for guidance and apply to my life. Televisions, Ipods and such didn’t exist at the time for there to be “rules” that we would have to follow when using those products. It takes a lot of thought and effort to devote urself to interpretation and application of religious texts. Regardless of what you believe in.

  7. sonia wrote:

    Hi ms_xtreme good to hear back from you, it’s very valuable hearing your thoughts and finding out about other people’s journeys.

    Please don’t misunderstand me - i’m not trying to make any ‘claims’ - that would be silly since I’m actually just asking questions - expressing my ignorance if anything! :-) Simply expressing what I have felt - I certainly haven’t read the entire Quran ‘thoroughly’ but what I have read I feel I have read ‘thoroughly’ and certainly in an English translation - my 5 years of studying Arabic as a foreign language in Kuwait meant that I could read and understand the odd word but certainly no more!

    Perception of ‘anger’ in any case is highly subjective - even with prose - which generally less allusive than text which is composed in verse. Clearly interpretation is a personal thing influenced by one’s ‘habitus‘ and what one already brings to the table. Absolutely I agree when dealing with any text it is fruitful to try and be as ‘open’ as possible. And there were verses which I did feel were ‘poetic’ and had sincere beauty - it would be surprising indeed if that were not the case. Also I think certainly there are ‘commandments’ in the Quran which can inspire people, the difficulty for me was that there was also of other not so ‘inspiring’ messages. But again - a matter of perspective. {I do admit to having very ‘idealistic’ airy fairy expectations - I do not really deal with ‘nature’ very well - and I am sure that this plays a large part in how I tend to react to ‘discourses’}

    Again- absolutely if you find guidance then that is a beautiful thing in itself - as you say, spending time reading and reflecting is not easy, and if you are getting something out of it, please don’t feel my ‘comments/thoughts -whatever they may be- are trying to invalidate the good you’re receiving. Everyone has different reactions to things. I don’t mean to suggest that based on my comments, people should throw away their ‘interest’ - rather my position would always be that people need to take things for themselves - not based on what everyone else thinks.

    About the tafsir - the reason i was really interested in that is because Quranic Exegesis reveals the mindset of the scholars who were compiling the Quran, and their biases. ‘Objectively’ speaking - is it not interesting finding out a little bit more about the people who ‘passed’ this textual knowledge onto us? Given that even the Arabic scholars were disagreeing on precisely which shade of meaning should be taken as the meaning meant, the scholars had great influence in choosing the meaning they did go for - and they recorded this process - the exegesis - hence the significance of reading their notes.

    For instance - this article I found very interesting.

    and I think, for me, I simply need to keep reading as much as I can, please don’t worry that because I sound skeptical, that might mean I would stop ‘inquiring’.

    I think if religion helps people find that spirituality I think that’s great because that is positive! It’s clear to me that we humans are all so different, we wouldn’t find spirituality in the same places.

    At the same time I think it is interesting how religion seeks to try and homogenize this process, does end up managing to inspire some people - generally in unlikely places, and then the ‘clergy’ who are supposed to be ’spiritual’ set themselves up as ‘holy’ and try and take advantage of the system.

    as someone who is overall interested in the human condition, i find religion and religious tradition, and religious authority, and people’s reactions to all of the above, fascinating.

  8. sonia wrote:

    Coming back to the ‘interpretation’ point - the work of someone like say - Asma Barlas - is interesting.

  9. Muhamad (pbum) wrote:

    Surely, I say unto all of you, al-Islam is the most free thinking of all religions.

  10. sonia wrote:

    doesn’t say much about religion then!

  11. yusuf wrote:

    wow sonia.
    There is a problem today when it comes to people trying to understand hadith without context, seerah without context, quran without context. Ie. the famous piece that says”kill the jews and christians where you find them” This was revealed at a time when the jews had been persecuting the muslims for years and complex situations has arisen way before then and allah knows best, whether you believe it or not. If you read into the science of hadith (not everyones cup of tea) you would see the immense work that went into sahih muslim, and the specific hadith in question is hasan i think so most would accept it.

    Saying that, I think that you may be aware that slavery is not legal anymore (although it carries on in western culture as sex trade- a trade which lies to women to put them in situations they dont have to be in) And we must remember that through allahs command and the sunnah the arabs of the time were taught that emancipation of slaves was massively rewardable.

    You have to put yourself in the situation.

    1)muhammed pbh was there and he was an arab who had been socialy adapted to the slavery of women and men. He acted when command was given.

    2)without slavery, many of these women would have died of malnutrition and exposure as they were living in a desert. This meant a woman on her own was as good as dead.
    In this context, the one of reality of the time, a man to take you under his “right hand” was necessary for survival in many cases. Muhammed pboh went much further telling people to emancipate when possible. And allah states in the quran that to emancipate and marry your slave girl is best.

    3) let me put this in perspective. muhammed was advocating emancipation 1200 years before the British. And the British never really sorted it.

    4) This is a man who freed all of his slaves. he married one.

    Scholars wont even bother talking about the fiqh of slavery any more because it simply doesnt exist. and the quran was the earliest record of how to treat them and eventually bring it to an end in a world which only knew slavery.

    I think as miss extremist says you need to go back to the source sister. There is no other text ever recorded that gives you the complete way to live your live, stories from the past civilisations, stories of the future which have all come true, scientific facts about the body, the planet, the sea, the stars, the big bang, the composition of the universe (!) and most importantly all in one volume with perfect grammatical rythm and all over a period of 23 years through an illiterate desert arab - which 100,0000+ people have committed to memory in any 1 generation, which has no contradictions and science only continues to prove correct even now. How can we disregard these thousands of truths from one hadith which we can’t understand as we live in a comfortable western cosy environment?

  12. sonia wrote:

    thank you for your comments Yusuf.

    One could similarly argue that the Prophet should not have gone to war with the tribes that he did go to war - as that obviously would have caused death, starvation and general misery in the desert. if you are not seeking to rock the boat - i can understand you wouldn’t want to rock the slavery boat either, but if you don’t want change then you don’t go around proclaiming new religions either presumably.

    ‘Social Adaptation’ - sure i can put myself in his shoes. Perhaps I might have done the same thing, i don’t know what a military leader thinks, perhaps if i were one i’d also have done the same. But would I then expect people to believe I had brought a ‘religion’ that provided all answers for all issues for all time? Probably not. And why then did Islam expect people to socially un-adapt themselves ( lets invent that word) to all sorts of other so called ‘evils’ like worshipping idols? Perhaps they were doing that because their parents were and that’s what was the norm? Why were they killed = they were bad people? Why were they bad - maybe the Prophet should have put himself in their shoes? Maybe he should have understood their need to hang on to their families’ religions just like Muslims want to do the same nowadays? Why did he not give them the same benefit of doubt you want me to give him?

    They would not have persecuted him presumably if he had not declared ‘apostasy’ effectively and renounced his family and tribe’s religion. Today if a muslim renounces Islam that individual risks persecution too. should apostates be allowed to go and hunt down and kill all the  muslims  because there are some who may be persecuting them? and then marry/concubine off the remaining muslim women and children. Now how would we like that and would you Yusuf be so easily write off such activity as ‘excusable’?  Surely you should put yourself in their shoes too no?
    And for the Jews persecuting the Muslims - well I don’t know about that. You mean the Jewish tribes in Yathrib who originally sheltered the Prophet? And later because they chose to remain Jewish?  Perhaps even if there was a tribe ‘persecuting them’  - even if people accept that someone is being persecuted it is still another matter to go and hunt them down. After all Osama bin Laden no doubt could say well we were persecuted by the USA so go hunt them down - which is presumably what he did say. Does that make the terrorist activity okay? The problem is one of how people understand ’self-defense’.
    In any case, it is not about judging the invididuals - that’ isn’t my game - but it seems to me the spirt of this activity runs contrary to what I felt I was told was the spirit of Islam. So without judging the individuals I can still see that the activity was problematic. I.e. Going to war, killing people, and then having to worry what to do with them.

    And Of course it’s religion is all about the idea that some people should be condemned and some shouldn’t - blame religion for that funny idea. And also if Muslims aren’t happy about condemning the early Muslims and the Prophet, neither should any Mullah seek to condemn any human being for ‘fornication’ - perhaps we humans are socially adapted to do that, perhaps he didn’t put himself in our shoes, etc. etc.  So let’s see the end of condemning women to death by stoning and such-like please then. If God is going to decide what’s happening on Judgement Day, let ‘it’ decide, let’s not have any killing in the meantime. One might have made a mistake understanding the word of God, ( seeing as humans aren’t perfect)  and it would be silly to have done something like taking another person’s life based on that wouldn’t it now.

  13. nazli wrote:

    why did the Prophet (SAW) fight the mushriks ? He fought with them because they rejected the truth.
    During the time of earlier Prophets ,if the mushriks did not accept the truth , Allah punished them directly.That is why the people of Aad ,Thamud and people during Nuh (AS) were punished.
    In the Prophet (SAW) ‘case ,the Prophet was the instrument of Divine Will.
    I am surprised that being brought up in a muslim household you were so ignorant about the basics of our Deen.
    From your writings and comments it appears that you are no longer a muslim ? I mean do you longer believe in the Shahadah - There is no God but Allah and Muhammad (SAW) is his messenger ?

  14. Ms_Xtreme wrote:

    ^ who exactly are YOU to question her beliefs? What’s it to you anyways whether she is muslim or not any longer?

    Please refrain from throwing out such judgements, because as you must know, it’s a sin to make such judgements.

  15. sonia wrote:

    thanks ms xtreme.
    nazli - each to their own, i’m not about to criticise YOU for accepting something - that is your choice, my friend. my own position - well it is something i am thinking about and evolving - as I said to Ms xtreme earlier on, I am reading the Quran now, and I can’t definitely say anything till I have done some proper deep study, maybe not even then.

    And I am wary of saying what I do think because I do not want to offend other people, or make it seem as if I am belittling their belief, through my disavowal. But seeing as you have asked, I don’t disbelieve there is something out there that can be characterised as God or Allah or whatever we humans want to refer to ‘It’ as. I don’t believe in an anthropocentric idea of this God though, that is a large part of my objection. Having read a lot of Hadiths, l i have no way of knowing whether Muhammad was indeed ‘God’s messenger - he - in my opinion - could be an ordinary man, or a Prophet. I don’t think i want to believe in Prophets though - if we are to think about metaphysical issues, i think we should use our own brains. and yes share our thinking and knowledge - but i don’t believe this business of God came and whispered things to someone, and not the rest of us. If that’s the kind of thing/kind of God I have to believe in to accept the ‘Shahadah’ well -that’s what makes this all so dubious. But i don’t see why people think other people have the answers, just because they said God said so. I mean so many people have said that..i could say it tomorrow. how do we distinguish who’s false and who’s not? they would all say God sent them. So you see - i don’t see that i am in any position to know or not know.  I’d rather not believe in that kind of God, who sends secret memos, personally. But of course, that doesn’t mean anything  in terms of “reality” .  Sonia will believe what she wants to, it hardly affects whether there is God or not.

  16. nazli wrote:

    Ok Sonia thanks for clarifying.
    I had understood it as much .
    By the way , your mother need not worry about her going to hell on your account as each soul will bear it’s own burden on qiyamah .Parents have a responsibility to bring up thier children with proper islamic values but when the children grow up they are responsible for thier own actions.
    Anyway your judgement is with Allah SWT
    We can only warn a blind person of the ditch ahead .

  17. nazli wrote:

    By the way perhaps you could read a collection of articles on muslim philosphy by Pervez Manzoor at http://pmanzoor.info

  18. sonia wrote:

    thanks nazli for those links. and I thought as much with regards to my Mother -she’s done her ‘best’! and anything I do or think is my responsibility.

  19. yusuf wrote:

    Sonia, in response to your response…no.15… Please re-read my first bit. no. 11

    There is so much proof about this man being more than just a fake, which is what you are suggesting. When you put it all in front of you, it is impossible to deny that the quran just can not be written by a lying desert arab.

    If you are sincere then ask allah or god or whatever you want to call it to guide you. if you do this sincerely and open your mind to the possibility that this might be the truth, then the facts will not bounce off your intellect, which is what i see all the time. Think about the objections you bring up and ask yourself, is this not just a larger leap of faith in theory than the one i have to take with the evidence i already have??

    I have debated with people who would rather quote a book on dimension theory than the facts they see in the dimension they live in. This is actually creating a more mythical religion than the one they are being told about.

    Similarly, you suggest that we should all just use our own intelligence to guide us individually, but look around at what happen to the world when people decide to follow their own desires (sometimes mistaken for intelect) Look at the level of humanity today. It is lower than it ever has been, and we substitute technology for morality.

    There is no leap of faith necessary in Islam.

    First you have to be able to consider it possibly the truth just as you would give the theory of evolution credit of being the truth, when scientifically it has not been proven. ( i’m not saying there is no “evolution” but im saying that the theory is full of holes which are recognised but you take it as truth in a whole without research… meaning that you could walk around till you die believing the wrong thing and not bothered even though it came from a mans brain in the 18th century )

    Trust me read about islam. Its much more complex and much more real than evolution theory. :)

    some good talks to listen to are the meaning of life by khalid yaseen, anything by anwar al awlaki.

  20. yusuf wrote:

    sonia… what is the purpose of this website?
    not sure i can tell but it seems that you have an inherant anti islam stance driven by a childhood around men who use the rules of islam they choose, missing the ones that involve the importance of al-nisa? Its common in families from iran and the asian subcontinent.

    I propose a challenge.

    You outine a problem you have with an islamic concept. I will bring evidence which is definate and either prooves you right or wrong. Maybe that would help? I will give links from all information

  21. yusuf wrote:

    you see Islam is perfect. people will always fall short, but that is explained in the quran and the hadith. But that shouldnt stop you submitting to that perfection and trying your best. This is all we can do yes?

  22. sonia wrote:

    it’s a blog Yusuf - the purpose therefore is for me to write about whatever I feel.
    Perhaps Islam is perfect - however seeing as Humans are not perfect  - it’s all a bit moot in my opinion.
    But you carry on thinking whatever you like - far be it from me to suggest you should have issues with Islam or Muslims. However I do have many issues with the religion I was brought up with - and I have written about one of them, which was significant enough to have repercussions on what I am willing to believe and what I am not. Obviously if you believe in ‘Islam’ - then what I believe or not, and what i feel is appropriate for myself or not - should hardly matter to ‘Islam’ or to anyone else really.  It might be of some relevance to someone who is also having doubts and questioning. I don’t know about how you became Muslim but for the vast majority of us we are born into it and not given any choices, and aren’t allowed to ask any questions about this state of affairs. So that’s my situation.

    And if you don’t want to read it, that’s fine. But i have my issues and I shall jolly well write about them if i want to.
    have a nice day! :-)

  23. sonia wrote:

    and p.s Yusuf i have read what you said - asking me to read something again is pretty useless and implies i should agree with your point of view if i read it again! Perhaps you should read my post again.

  24. yusuf wrote:

    Sonia,

    Jolly good!

    Sorry didnt mean to offend. Sometimes writing things can come out wrong, without body language and intonation you can be misunderstood.

    I disagree with you on your second to last post. I do know how you feel. I think the thing that makes us human is the link between every one of us. I have doubts. I wouldnt be human if the whisperings that this might be all a big hoax werent emerging now and again. but for every blog like this which (no offence) is based on cultural upbringing and the misuse of a single hadith…. there are 10 websites full of proofs and evidences by people that have the qualifications to study hadith, and the language, and the quran.

    Question: based on this hadith against the many hadith which predict future events, point to benefitting health stuff, the quran which is full of science which our scientists are only now finding out… do the study…. then come back and tell me whether you are actually taking a much bigger leap of faith that actually the prophet pboh was an advocate of rape and nothing more (audthoo billah). this is a man who without wealth or evil brought civilisation to continents. no one else in the history of mankind has done this.

    what worries me is that someone else who is having doubts reads this and takes your analasys of this hadith as correct. to be honest.

    before you find the truth you have to put your issues aside and look with sincerity otherwise you will be blinded by your experience and prejudice.

  25. sonia wrote:

    don’t worry Yusuf, i know what you mean by textual interaction - no cues.

    You’re perfectly entitled to disagree with me :-)

    my analysis is my analysis - i’m not pretending to be a scholar - if someone is influenced by my thinking - well that’s that - they have their own brain and they need to think about it from their own perspective. In any case i don’t believe in ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in terms of interpretation - clearly it’s subjective - again people have to make up their own mind. I think my post makes quite clear that I was querying something and that I hardly had the ‘answer’.

    People need to use their own brains - we have no way of distinguishing who we can trust and who we cannot without using our brains. ANd this is hardly one of those SUnni-path fatwa issuing sites! :-)

    Plus you will probably find that most Muslims will be put off by someone who sounds as if they are rejecting the whole package, so you don’t need to worry so much. Of course what people might want to worry about is the fact that increasingly more and more young Muslims are asking questions to which there do not seem to be any comfortable or consistent answers to.

  26. sonia wrote:

    p.s. everyone makes a leap of faith when it comes to thinking about things which we simply don’t know anything about -obviously.
    i don’t know why you think I was implying that wasn’t the case! :-)

    The point is rather that i am not prepared to make this particular leap anymore because what i have found makes me much more suspicious and uncomfortable. i could make some other leaps of faith here and there, if I felt like it, if i felt it was not imposed upon me ( like religion is and has been imposed upon me by my society and religion - rejecting it is a big deal and not looked kindly upon by the community - as well you know. obviously one cannot be open about these things very much) and if there was some benefit from it. Personally i feel the God thing is tainted by the Messenger in this case - try as i like I cannot see Mohammed in a good light, so i fail to see why i should take his message seriously. of course because i don’t like the messenger, doesn’t mean there is no God out there. but like i said, i don’t accept either Islam or any kind of revealed religion because i don’t accept the current ‘understanding’ of God to be sufficient - it is not interesting to me, and I have a strong suspicion that the Abrahamic view of God is far too human-centric. So it has no validity to me. In my view, i think you lot are worshipping a false God, one invented by Man,  but of course - that choice is yours to make. :-)

    Now for myself - i am not going to try and replace this with some other god to worship, cos frankly i don’t see why i should hang onto any kind of religion or god that wants worshipping.

  27. sonia wrote:

    the only creatures who seem to want worship are humans, who seem to seek leadership. now of course i dont know that God isn’t the same as us, but i see no reason to assume so either.

    it is silly to flatter ourselves that God would be anything like us.

  28. nazli wrote:

    Sonia seems to remind me of this Ayah :

    Then seest thou such a one as takes as his god his own vain desire? Allah has, knowing (him as such), left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart (and understanding), and put a cover on his sight. Who, then, will guide him after Allah (has withdrawn Guidance)? Will ye not then receive admonition?
    Sura Al-Jathiya 45 Ayat 23

  29. Usman wrote:

    Sonia, Hi
    You have raised some interesting issues on this page and I’m starting to get a better understanding of where you’re coming from. Firstly I would like to congratulate you on your approach to the whole thing of religion, you won’t accept anything blindly without questioning its authenticity, and the use of intellect as a key ingredient in observing the truth of a matter.

    From what I can see the two areas of debate which are needed are

    1) Is there a God/creator? Can this be proven rationally not just with wishey washey emotions?

    2) Is the Quran the revealed speech of the Allah/God/creator and can this be proven rationally also.

    I would welcome this debate if you are up for it.

    But before the discussion develops further I have a question for you. What is your view/opinion on the origin of the universe i.e. what was there before any life existed, where the universe came from. The reason I ask is because I would like to know what you think on this matter, rather than make assumptions later.

  30. anothervoice wrote:

    Hi Sonia

    I am right there with you in your questioning and would we be Muslim if we did not question…….seek knowledge, even to China……ring any bells. I am so sick of being told that I have gone astray because I do not question hadiths such as “a carpet in your home is worth more than a barren woman”. Which I have been told by many scholars is inauthentic/weak. So why is it still in the books, why can’t the inauthentic be removed? They are not the Quran, so we can remove any we know are not authentic. The usual answer I receive is the “we must follow the Quran and the Sunnah”, yet we accept that parts of the Sunnah are inauthentic/weak, so why are we following it?

    Yes, we are told not to question but if I did not question this hadith how would I know that it was inauthentic? How many barren women through the centuries have been treated badly because people do not question it and believe this hadith to be true?

    It makes my blood boil that these hadiths are attributed to our Beloved Prophet (pbuh), who himself had 9 wives that did not bear children. Muslims are so quick to go into the streets with violence at percieved insults to our Prophet but will happily sit and ignore such an insult as falsely attributed hadiths.

    I have been saying for years that we should look to ourselves before we accuse others of insulting the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh).

    As for your last post Nazli, how will Muslims ever learn to be tolerent to others if we cannot be tolerent with each other? If you choose to follow blindly then so be it, that is your choice but do not assume that those of us that wish to search for the truth in our faith are necessarily trying to follow our desires. Perhaps you are happy for your husband to have sexual relationships with your servants or for society to reject barren women but some of us have more respect for ourselves and the gifts Allah gave us.

    Salaam

  31. anothervoice wrote:

    My sincere apologies, of course our Prophet had 12 wives in total and only 2 had children. So our Beloved Prophet had 10 not 9 that did not bear children.

  32. yusuf wrote:

    good point anothervoice.

    we are intelligent human beings, we would not throw the whole portion of chips away just because one was a bit funny shaped would we!

  33. Usman wrote:

    sonia i get the feeling you’d rather not discuss such matters. I’m confident in islam and can prove it rationally, if your up for the debate then i welcome it.

  34. sonia wrote:

    you are hilarious Usman! why do you think i would not want to discuss such matters - if i did and was the typical muslim girl i should certainly not be writing about such matters now would I?

    Please - go full steam ahead re: your support for Islam. I’m most interested - at least that way i can think about whether it is of any relevance to my beliefs, if it is something I have already thought of, if it is something to consider. So again - please - I am most interested in what you have to say.

  35. yusuf wrote:

    some really big scholar said something like ” In the course of human develepment it is the human that should conform to the divine, not the divine to the human”

    You will find it should be you fitting into the aqeedah, not the other way round.

  36. sonia wrote:

    that doesn’t address the question of knowing what the aqeedah is - if you are satisfied you know what that is - of course it makes sense, however, if you don’t - then it is a moot point.

    A Hindu could come up to you and say YOU should be conforming to their version of aqeedah, and what would you say? well perhaps that you don’t subscribe to that particular framework/it doesn’t represent the Truth for you etc.

  37. Sofia wrote:

    I’m really glad that you’re being honest in your questions and fears, especially as they concern something that is obviously important to you, otherwise why bother?
    I’ve had similar questions regarding the hadiths in questions, but to tell you the truth have never really looked into it…i’ve been one of those who possibly focuses more on the other aspects of Islam where my questions are answered. The thing is, I really wish I could ask someone about these hadith, but I’m just scared that the people who have the “knowledge” aren’t the ones I’d be comfortable in asking…call me a cynic but I’ve had about enough of nutty imams….there’s only so much proselytising I can take. So thank you sonia for voicing what a lot of Muslim women are thinking but too “afraid” to ask. I’m sure if I did start questioning my local imam, he’d call me a heretic.

  38. sonia wrote:

    thanks sofia, i know what you mean - believe me it took me a long time to get my thinking hat on - about 17 years?!

    and yes, i still feel the same way about approaching someone ’senior’ with these questions - i couldn’t possibly ask my elder sisters these questions for example - no way, its just wouldn’t be ‘done’ in the etiquette surrounding what you talk about with your elders.

  39. sonia wrote:

    thanks anothervoice for your comments.

    i’m not suprised at nazli’s comments - it is hard if you are convinced you know the Truth to see it from another person’s perspective. as far as i can see - again, what Is and Isn’t is not something i KNow - i have my theories, and they’re mine, probably wrong, no reason why i should have achieved the Truth, one has to go on thinking, and i need to live by my ethics which make sense to me. Mohammed may well have been a Prophet of ‘God’, he may well not have been.. i can’t tell- i have absolutely no way of knowing.

  40. Muhamad [p.b.u.m] wrote:

    Here here Sonia!

    It’s a free country (unlike those sadistic countries where a hand is cut off for petty theft), and, so, if someone individual was to come up to one and say “f***k off”, they would surely be exercising their free will. O, yes, I one mustn’t forget that such an individual might end up in Jahannam, which is, as you know, a place in the Middle East.

  41. Thara wrote:

    Given that Sonia and her pal Faisal Ghazi (’Sid’) have been spraying various internet forums eg. Serious Golmal and Pickled Politics with Anti Sylheti Bengali ‘expert’ commentary these past months, I think Sonia’s commentary on the perfectness of Islam is hypocritical. Deal with the darkness within your own heart first sweetie.

  42. kevin wrote:

    I came across this page “Sonia’s Diary”, and I enjoyed the time I spent reading bits and pieces of the comments. You are smart people and you gave me headache.

    So there is this tribe (may be Muslims) who fought another tribe in the desert or in Siberia, the first tribe won the war, the men of the defeated tribe were killed. The women of the defeated tribe were saved. What to do with them? Let them go, in the desert or in Siberia to die of hunger, thirst or cold? It doesn’t seem to me a bad solution to have the men of the victorious army take care of the women, one woman taken care by a soldier (we may argue about the term ‘taken care of’ enslaved, owned…). The man should treat that woman as best as humanly possible. Now the soldier has been away from home for some time. It is a fact to many people that when the hormones are agitated, the brain malfunctions. What harm will be done to humanity if the man had a long term relationship with the woman? Of course, in the present day culture, if the woman does not want to sleep with the man, then it is a big crime to force her. But suppose in the other culture, the woman is brain-washed into thinking that this is acceptable, this is the Geneva Convention of the time. If your people are conquered, and defeated, and you have nobody to look after you, then your new person (husband, master, soldier…) can make love to you. If that woman is brain-washed to accept this as normal and expected, isn’t that better for her. Will that not lessen the pain and suffering of that woman, what else is she going to do? In a desert, her people are killed, she lives in the care of another person, who wants to make love to her; what is best for her to do?

    What is best for humanity? The victorious tribe are more likely to have better genes, they make love, have children with better genes. The defeated tribe may come back and win, their genes then more likely are better, they get the women of the other tribe and spread their genes. Isn’t that survival for the fittest, through which humanity improves?

    My point is, when we look at other cultures through our own prism, things may look distorted.

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