One of my colleagues, who is doing Good Work, has a wonderful article here I missed the first time around. It hits some themes I’ve heard him say before. I’ll take two pieces from this short essay as a tease:
Out of the 70 war verses quoted liberally by Al-Qaeda two things must be understood. First, Islamic militant clergy never explain the historical context of which these verses were revealed. The war verses were primarily revealed when Prophet Muhammad was in Medina attempting to defend his society against the onslaught of a much more powerful opponent in Mecca. For their part, the Meccans could not allow Muhammad to remain in Medina, as he stood between them and the Syrian caravan routes. From Muhammad’s view, the Meccan persecution of Muslims created a refugee crisis in Medina that required resources and raiding Meccan caravans offered an easy solution to the refugee crisis. This always must be viewed from the lens of the 7th century. Dr. Saeed exposes in his book that as jihadist quote the 70 war verses out of historical context, there are 124 verses in the Quran that deal with forgiveness, compassion, tolerance, and patience.
When dealing with ironclad Islamic law, the primary source that undisputed is the Quran (which has many interpretations) and the Hadith sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad. The history of how these Hadiths were compiled is the subject of much Islamic scholarly discussion. The books discusses how out of 500,000 Hadiths collected only 4,500 are undisputedly verified as uttered or done by Muhammad and the codification of the Hadiths did not take its final form until the Caliphate of Al-Mamoun (813-833 AD) under two hundred years after the death of Prophet Muhammad. This leaves a body of untested Hadiths that for the untrained that can be used with deadly results. One must also be aware of the undisputed Hadiths there are contradictions and like the Quran must be explained in its historical context.
…The conference did not materialize in 1924 but it would spark an Islamic judge and lecturer at Al-Azhar to write a book that would send shockwaves in the debate over the role of religion in politics. Shiekh Ali Abdul-Razzaq wrote Al-Islam Wa Usool Al-Hikam (Islam and the Basis of Rule) in 1925. Its central thesis was that the separation of Islam from politics is not incompatible with the Quran and Hadiths. He goes on to describe how Islam in its essence is a spiritual not temporal religion that can only be debased if it associates itself with governance or politics. In refuting the need for a caliphate, Abdul-Razzaq writes that Prophet Muhammad was essentially a theological figure who was thrust into being the governor of Medina. The concept or even requirement for a caliphate cannot be found in the Quran or Hadiths and therefore is not obligatory form of governance in the Islamic world.
This is one way to fight splodeydopes: with their own failed, apostate, idolatrous, un-Islamic perversion of a religion. As for my friend who wrote this article–is he some dusty academic? Nope.Â He’s got his faith, and he’s got his sword, too. And it’s a standard issue U.S. Navy sword, same as mine, and the fact that our faiths are not the same is not an issue. We are comrades in arms.
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