Wednesday, February 4, 2009

An Internet article on the Hadith , and the paradox of "the meek" in Islam


I got an email from someone yesterday from the LGBT community (who particularly addresses religion and homosexuality) with an explanatory link to an article in “Mid East Facts” by Yashiko Sagamori, “Hadith 101, or Islam for the Infidel”. The Hadith, according to Wikipedia, are “oral traditions relating to the words and deeds of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Hadith collections are regarded as important tools for determining the Sunnah, or Muslim way of life, by all traditional schools of jurisprudence.” They are supposed to be vehicles by which the scripture in the Koran is translated into the rules for living. They correspond to traditions interpreting the Torah or the Bible – except that we all know how much disagreement there is in interpreting certain texts. It would appear that there is less disagreement within the Hadith (or ahadeeth).

The Sagamori link goes through some of Mohammed’s attributed statements, and attempts to set up a chain of “reasoning” about some rather intimate matters. In the end, Saganiri comes up with a rather existential or paradoxical statement about the demand for “meekness” in Islam and the requirement that everyone submit to “the meek”.

The embedded University of Southern California compendium reference has a lot of interesting sub-links on the left, especially the “misconceptions about Islam” (for example, Misconception #2 is “In Islam, denial of human rights is OK because: slam is against pure democracy Islam tolerates slavery) as well as the link on Human Relations leading to the Moral System. There is a great deal of attention to social responsibilities, especially filial responsibility, and to “neighbors”; there is a certain insistence on collective mentality. The link for “Women in Society” has the discussion on Family and Modesty, but again the concerns are obviously “collective” (although they may not work out that way in a patriarchal society).

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