Daily Archives: November 14, 2008

Renowned Sunni scholars in Islamic legal history

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The life, sayings and actions of Prophet Muhammad pbuh, altogether referred to as the Sunna, have been recorded in so-called ahadith. Sunni Islam acknowledges six major collections of ahadith, recorded by six scholars. The among Muslims most trusted scholar on prophetic traditions is Muhammad ibn Ismail al Bukhari (810-870). Imam Bukhari belonged to the Shafi’i School and relied on its methodologies, this is recorded by Ibn Hajar. Bukhari traveled widely throughout the Abbasid empire, collecting trafitions. He is believed to have finished his work in 846, after sixteen years of writing and collecting those traditions he trusted. It is recounted that Bukhari collected over 300,000 ahadith and transmitted only 2,602 traditions he believed to be Sahih (trustworthy). Bukhari recorded of every hadith its source: the transmitting narrators and its chain of transmittors from the Prophet. Notable hadith scholars of Imam Bukhari’s time, such as Ahmad ibn Hanbal (died in 855), Ibn Maín (died in 847) and Ibn Madini (died in 848) all accepted the authenticity of Bukhari’s work. One of Imam Bukhari’s trusted students, Al Firabri, is quoted by Khatib al Baghdadi, author of ‘History of Baghdad’, saying: ‘There were about seventy thousand people who have heard Sahih Bukhari with me’. This saying refers to the period of Bukhari intensively travelling the last twenty-four years of his life, visiting cities and scholars, teaching the ahadith he had collected. He is said to have recited traditions in the main mosque of every city he visited. Other transmitters of Sahih al Bukhari than Al Firabri are Ibn Hajar Asqalani, author of ‘Fath al Bari’ and ‘Nukat”; Ibrahim ibn Ma’qal (d. 907), Hammad ibn Shaker (d. 923), Mansur Burduzi (d. 931) and Husain Mahamili (d. 941).

The second most respected collector is one of Imam Bukhari’s contemporaries: Muslim ibn al Hajjaj (817-874). Imam Muslim was also an extensive traveller through countries such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Egypt to gather ahadith. Out of 300,000 ahadith he extracted approximately 4,000. 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.

However, earlier the first main attempts towards more systematic religious law, Fiqh, had been made. In Sunni Islam, four names are connected to the beginning of Islamic Jurisprudence: the imams Malik, Shafi’i, Hanafi and Hanbali. From the work of each of these men, a ‘school of Fiqh’ has grown: the Maliki, Hanafi, Shafi’i and Hanbali jurisprudence. ‘School’ meaning here propositions for legal exegesis of Qur’anic and Prophetic sayings in such a way that they can be brought into practice by rulers and courts. These schools of Islamic law have gained important formal status in the law of most Islamic countries and most Muslims have referred themselves as belonging to one of these schools. Imam Malik ibn Anas ibn Malik ibn Amer al-Asbahee(714-796) was the author of a small but highly regarded collection of ahadith, known as Al Muwatta (‘The Approved’). Imam Malik’s ruling against coerced divorce got him into a serious and ugly conflict with caliph Abu Ja’far al Mansur, however, the governor of Medina protected Imam Malik against further harassment by the (self appointed!) caliph.

The oldest and also largest school of law as regards its number of followers is the Hanafy school, named after its founder, Abu Hanifa an Nu’man ibn Thabit (699-767). The Hanafy school is known for its relative liberalism and its inclination towards independance for the individual’s conscience, but this may be a matter of perception. Imam Muhammad ibn Idris ash Shafi’i (767-820) is spiritual father of the Shafi’i school of law and author many books, best known of which ‘Al Risala’, ‘Kitab al Umm’ and ahadith named ‘Musnad Ash Shafi’i and he was the developer of a school of law in Baghdad. Not much is known of his life; he worked in government service and spent the last five years of his life in Egypt, where he died. Sultan Saladin built a madrassa on the site of his death. Sheikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller translated his works ‘Umdat as Salik’ (Reliance of the Traveler) and Al Maqasid into English. The Shafi’i school of law is the second largest in terms of numbers of followers. Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal (d. 855) was the spiritual father of the Hanbali School of thought, the smallest maddhab in Sunni Islam. The school was started by Bin Hanbal’s students, even though Imam Ahmad detested that his opinions be written and compiled, fearing they might swerve his students from studying Qur’an and Sunnah. Imams Shafi’i and Hanbali both studied under imam Malik and imam Hanafy’s students; imam Malik was one of imam Hanafy’s students.

Roughly speaking, we find the Maliki Maddhab traditionally in NorthWest Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait; the Hanafy Maddhab in Northern Egypt, the Balkans, Turkey, and the entire Middle East and Far East Asian areas of the Islamic world. The Hanbalis have their territory on the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen excepted, and the Shafi’i in Sudan, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Somalia, Southern India and Indonesia.

However, during the last centuries, their importance has waned under the influence of a new current in Islam: the return to Qur’an and ahadith as only infallible source of law. This rejection of jurisprudence by the maddhahib was probably started by the prominent theologian Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al Wahhab in the eighteenth century. ‘Abd al Wahhab strongly opposed the practice of Taqlid under Maddhahib authority: accepting and following interpretations and verdicts of scholars of fiqh without knowing and asking the evidence, considering also that Qur’an al Kerim refers people back to the Book and the Prophet in case of religious conflicts. Modern supporters of sheikh ‘Abd al Wahhab are sheikh Bin Baaz and sheikh Uthaymeen of Saudi Arabia, sheikh Albani of Albania and sheikh Muqbil of Yemen. The result is that many countries nowadays don’t strictly adhere to only one school of law anymore, though this phenomenon is also caused by other influences, among whom former colonial occupants.

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Have any deviant Qur’anic texts existed?

portalunescoorg-yemen

Christianity in the West held it’s breath when in 1972 a manuscript of Qur’an al Kerim was found in Yemen, Sana’a’s main mosque. German scholars Gerhard Puin and H.C. Graf von Bothmer, working for Saarland University, Universität des Saarlandes, were assigned to cleanse and conserve the paper. Would at last a deviant copy of Islam’s Holy Book have been found, the book that is forbidden to question according to orthodoxy, so many Westerners say?

For decades both men did their job as low key as possible with the aid of several other experts and only in 1999 Gerhard Puin first displayed some openness on the contends of the texts found via magazine The Atlantic.com. However, Mr Puin doesn’t go beyond minor textual variations, different spelling and text categorization: ‘some of these fragments revealed small but intriguing aberrations from the standard Koranic text. Such aberrations, though not surprising to textual historians, are troublingly at odds with the orthodox Muslim belief that the Koran as it has reached us today is quite simply the perfect, timeless, and unchanging Word of God’. No differences, however, that would keep a Muslim awake at night; The Atlantic.com has presented the differences more important than they truly are, which Gerhard Puin admitted too. Unesco apparently sells a cd of this Yemenite manuscript.

By the way, Yemeni history has known a ‘false prophet’ in the era when Islam reach Yemen, a certain Al Aswad al ‘Anzi. He claimed to have received a revelation, but he was discarded by Yemenite Muslims. As far as we know no truly deviant qur’anic texts have been found and it seems unlikely that this will happen. Nevertheless, one must keep an open mind to anything at all.

What is the Koran? the Atlantic.com

Yemen The Sana’a Manuscripts, Unesco.org

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More surprising and weird statements from Westerners on Islam

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‘The four rightly guided caliphs were no Muslims, they were Christians’

Trouw-columnist Eildert Mulder continues his saga and now uses a few coins, a copy of which displays Muawiyya with John the Baptist’s head in his hand, says German Islam-expert Volker Popp. Online publishing office of the German Saarland University, Universität des Saarlandes, displays impressive and well-known names, like professor Karl-Heinz Ohlig, but also Christoph Luxenberg has a publication, it’s name is Der Koran zum ‘islamischen Kopftuch’. Firstly Volker Popp says that the coin ‘definitely’ must date from the era of the four righteous caliphs, the period 632 – 661 AD. ‘Ali ra’s caliphate indeed was contested by Abu Sufyan’s son Muawiyya, who resided in Damascus. Muawiyya may have had his own coin, however, how likely is it that he allowed himself to be immortalized with John the Baptist’s head? Would a Christian monarch be portrayed with the head of a man as important to Christianity as John the Baptist in his hand? Volker Popp must admit that the head in the man’s left hand, a ruler figure with a lance ‘might as well be an censer’. Thus the object is described in art catalogues too. The coin’s backside shows a letter M with a cross. This could, says Popp, refer to its value, a thousand talents, which could make it a Roman coin. However, the letter could also mean something else, like ‘Muawiyya’, perhaps even ‘Muhammad’. The letters DAM are mentioned on it, which must imply that the coin has been struck in Damascus, however, Popp denies the Romans had their coining production there. Thus the suggestion is made that Muawiyya very well might have been a Christian Roman ruler and not ‘Ali’s Saudi rival. Question remains whether the coin may at all be Muawiyya’s product. The exegesis by both Volker Popp and Eildert Mulder is highly speculative and is by no means supported by other evidence or findings. The coin may very well represent nothing more or less than a ruler figure with a censer and it’s financial value.

On the same website Luxenberg claims in his article ‘Der Koran zum ‘Islamischen Kopftuch’ that Qur’anic verse 24:31, which says that women should cast veils over their bosoms, in Aramaic truly means that women should cast a belt over their loin’. A belt around their waist. Also in Christianity the belt is a signaficant symbol of chastity for not only women but monks too. Also would appear from hadith 318 Book 60 Volume 6 by Sahih Buchari that the woman used to wear a cloth around the waist covering the hips:

Volume 6, Book 60, Number 282:

Narrated Safiya bint Shaiba:

‘Aisha used to say: “When (the Verse): “They should draw their veils over their necks and bosoms,” was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their faces with the cut pieces.”

To cut it short, Luxenberg thinks we should stop making things difficult and read the Qur’an the Aramaic way. It’s not necessary to consider the new Islamic duties mentioned in this hadith, in his eyes.

All these efforts by Christians and other Westerners to re-write Islamic history indicate a non-acceptance of religiously-inspired records of history. For them it is decided that such scriptures are fabricated myths, fairy-tales, and miscellaneous gathered facts and narratives that may be fine sources for inspirational purposes, so-called allegories or deeper truths. Incessant efforts are made to parallel Islam with Judaism and Christianity. The big difference, however, is that especially Christianity has a much less reliable historic record, as Romans, the popes and other rulers destroyed much of its inheritance and furthermore, Jewish history took a much longer time span. It is true that the Bible holds the same narratives of the same events, but then we see that names, dates and events do not quite match. Judaism and Christianity therefore had to rely a lot more than is the case for Islam on interpretation by scholars from later eras. Islam has a much clearer defined area of study with Qur’an and ahadith. One must acknowledge that Islam has a different origine than Judaism and Christianity and above all, among different people. Thus at an early stage one single qur’an could be recorded and memorized, which is still used by the entire Islamic umma without modifications. Something similar goes for the recording of ahadith, however, it must be admitted that part of them was written down immediately, but part of the most authoritative ahadith was for a fact recorded from many oral sources only two centuries later. This happened though in a way that they indeed can be used for historic reference. They may not each and everyone of them be infallible, but we can safely conclude that the memorized events truly took place. If we then may conclude that the Prophet pbuh indeed received Divine Revelations, is even with the ahadith at hand impossible to prove, because not often clearly supernatural events in the sense of spectacular ‘miracles’ like walking on a water surface, apparitions of angels or Allah swt showing Himself took place. This aspect of it all definitely is a question of faith. Westerners try to ascribe epilepsy or other illnesses to the Prophet; he underwent ‘a seizure’ at the moment he received a new Revelation. Islam, however, sees creation and the Scripture as miracle enough and has no need for stunts.

Sources:

Der Koran zum ‘Islamischen Kopftuch’ Christoph Luxenberg

Bildische Darstellingen aus der Frühzeit des Islam Volker Popp

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Shiites have older credentials than Sunnis

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inscriptie-imam-ali-moskee

Dutch Christian newspaper Trouw continues its speculative series on critical Islam researchers and their ‘spectacular’ questions on the early days of Islam. Here follows a translation of an article by Eildert Mulder claiming that Shiites, not Sunnis, possess the oldest Islam and then my reaction in online newspaper Nieuwsfeit.nl.

Eildert Mulder says:

The majority decides, this also goes for the design, structure and image of Islam. Shiites are a worldwide ten percent minority of Islam. Sunnis hold with their ninety percent an overwhelming advantage. This may explain the tendency, also among Islam studies in the West, to discard of Shiism as a younger aberration of Sunni, ‘orthodox’ Islam. Critical Islam experts resist this temptation, however. Some think that precisely Shiism has reserved an older form of Islam. Under-appreciation of the Shiites may also be caused by the fact that the main European colonizers mainly found Sunni Muslims in the conquered territories. This went for the Britisch in India, the Dutch in Indonesia, the French in Northern and West Africa and the Russians in Central Asia. Sunni confession of faith says: ‘There is no deity than Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger’. The Shiites lengthen it: ‘And ‘Ali is His Wali’. Wali can mean ‘guardian’. The result could then be ‘the guardian appointed by Allah’. This addition to Sunni confession sounds slightly artificial. It appears stuck to it and this strengthens the idea of a later aberration of the Sunna. ‘Ali Wali was according tradition Muhammad’s son in law, married to his daughter Fatima. Muhammed supposedly appointed ‘Ali as his successor, not as a prophet, but as leader of the young Muslim community. Muhammad further would have decreed that future Imams (this is the name Shiites give to the leaders of the Muslim community, Sunnis speak of Khaliphas) must descend from ‘Ali and Fatima. Sunnis disagree with this. When Shiites then add ‘Ali being ‘wali’ of God to the confession, it appears overstated. But another explanation is possible, without a person named ‘Ali appearing. That gives the Shiite ‘addition’ another dimension. The linguistic phenomenon of an adjective changing into a first name in people’s experience may have happend with ”Ali’. German linguist Christoph Luxenberg says this happened to ‘Muhammad’. Muhammad literally means ‘(intensely) praised’. The confession’s original confession cannot have been ‘Muhammad Messenger of God’, says Luxenberg, but: ‘Praised be God’s Messenger’. Luxenberg doesn’t mention ‘Ali, but analogy is obvious. ‘Ali means ‘exalted’. Also ‘Ali may originally have been an adjective, therefor one mustn’t read ”Ali God’s Wali’, but ‘Exalted is God’s Wali’. The Shiite confession no longer answers the question who should be king of the Muslims, but which (high) status he enjoys. Assuming that ‘God’s Guardian’ indeed refers to the imam or caliph, as Shiites believe. This other interpretation cut the unfortunate tie with the apocryphal narrations on Islam’s beginnings, part of which is the history of Muhammad’s promise to ‘Ali. Whether the Shiites add another sentence to the confession, remains to be seen. Perhaps it is the Sunni who deleted the second part. The difference in opinion seems obsolete and theoretical anyway. For centuries no caliphs or imams have been in power and for over a thousand years no descendants of ‘Ali and Fatima have been spotted. The twelfth and last Imam is hiding in the Iranian mountains, according to Shiites, and will appear with Jesus at the end of times. It is no more than bawls from a distant past that have little to do with reality today. Yet this doesn’t quite add up. Remnants of the conflicting views on imams versus caliphs seem to live on in the clergy’s organisation in Islam’s two main schools of thought. In Sunnism clergymen are, at least in theory, peers. Shiism, however, knows a hierarchy, with supreme ayatollah’s at the top. Since the Islamic revolution in 1978 initiated by ayatollah Khomeiny the ‘Wali al Faqih’, which means something like ‘spiritual guide’ is (Shiite) Iran’s supreme leader. The Wali al Faqih resembles a priest-king (without inherited leadership), who leaves daily leadership to the president, but keeps a sharp eye on the Islamic course and, in the end, holds power. This perhaps approaches the position of the first eleven imams. Especially ‘imam’ Khomeiny (he didn’t call himself imam, but allowed others to do so) was subject of intense worship. Yet the Wali al Faqih is not on the same level as the first twelve imams, according to Shiites these men also possessed spirtituals qualities, had received divine inspiration in their exegeses of revelations. In Sunni Islam the caliph is more modest. He is ‘the prophet’s successor’, but only politically. However, had the caliph in the very first days this limited meaning as well, or did he more resemble the Shiite imam? The Qur’an gives no definite answer. ‘Caliph’ appears eight times, twice single and six time plural. Both Adam and king David are ‘caliphs on earth’. This latter statement could imply that caliph indeed is a monarch’s title. It is not certain though. Mystical sufi poet Ibn Arabi, for instance, gives another, non-political explanation. In his eyes, caliphs are people with a soul thus pure is seems a perfectly polished mirror that shows God. Danish Islam expert Patricia Crone, now working in the USA, put the cat among the pigeons with her book God’s Califf. She discovers something in the book: old texts don’t say ‘the Prophet’s caliph (successor)’ but ‘God’s Caliph’. This means two things. The idea that ‘caliph’ means ‘Muhammad’s successor’ is of newer date. In this connection caliph can hardly mean ‘successor’, because you then may talk of ‘God’s successor’. Crone concludes that ‘God’s caliphs’ must have had a religious function too. They were Gods ‘governors’. This resembles the Shiite imam and corresponds fairly well (Crone doesn’t put it that way) with the Shiite confession of faith. It may imply that the Shiites represent ancient Islam on important issues.

Crone’s intentions become more obvious in another book that she wrote with another author, Michael Cook: Hagarism. With aid of documents from Christian contemporaries of the first Muslims they conclude that the word Muslim was not yet in use. Followers of the new religion are called mahgraye, an Aramaic word meaning something like migrants, call them migrants from the desert. It is related to the Arabic word hijrah, according to orthodox exegesis Muhammed’s and his followers’ ‘flight’ from Mecca to Medinah in 622. These migrants meet, when arriving in Palestine, first the Jews, from whom they adopt many things. Later they oppose themselves against the Jews. They find a new role model, the Samaritans, related to the Jews, but fiercely rallying against them. From them the migrants adopt high priesthood, according to Crone and Cook, namely ‘God’s Caliph’. ‘God’s Caliph’ goes astray when halfway the eigth century the center of the Arabian state shifts towards Irak. The new religion meets once again a rich Jewish tradition, with scholars in religious law as its leading characters. Scholars in Islamic law developed themselves in scholasticism after their example. Through time they laid the fundament for the shariah legislation to come according to Qur’an and transmitted traditions of the Prophet. The scholars of law become the professional explainers of God’s Will. Therewith the spiritual function of the caliph diminishes. He degrades into ‘Prophet’s Caliph’, who, like everyone else, lives under shariah law. From now on he is a ‘constiutional monarch’ and not a priest or half-prophet with his own, direct line to God. The attenuation continues. The caliphs later loose their worldly power to soldier-kings (sultans), usually Turks and sometimes Kurds. The symbolism, however, remains forceful, sultans fight for the honour to ‘protect’ the powerless caliph. But the revolution of scholasticism against ‘Allah’s exalted Guardian’ is irrevocable. And the ancient essential conflict over the leadership of the ummah has been congealed in a tale of Muhammad’s promise to ‘Ali. Eildert Mulder (With special thanks to Thomas Milo.)

The first part of this article is the most bizarre part. Trouw has claimed before that the name Muhammad didn’t exist yet in the known Prophet’s era and would be an adjective or honorary title, with the meaning of the praised one. According Trouw the name Muhammad might as well refer to Jesus. Now they say that the name ‘Ali didn’t exist yet in those days and would also be nothing more than an adjective meaning protector, guardian. They relate this to the speculation that the Shiite confession of faith could be older than the Sunni and not just that: the Shiite may very well be the right one. After all the word khalifa, leader, is not connected to a specific name in Qur’an al Kerim and is also used for Prophet Dawud for instance, king David. They forget, however, that Qur’an also gives the word ‘messenger’ and this happens to be reserved for the prophets, among whom Muhammad. For good reason Qur’an dedicates an entire chapter to Prophet Muhammad pbuh. Trouw just about doesn’t proclaim ‘Ali ra to be Islam’s real prophet, which is something Shiites happen to proclaim neither, for those among us who happen to not know. We may even conclude from the article that there wasn’t at all a prophet of Islam. Shortly, what is it that Trouw really wants to say? 🙂

This cat among the pigeons is a bit weird too, in my opinion. As if Muslims didn’t know yet that the word khalifa, caliph, figures in their Book and if they didn’t know that indeed it means ‘leader’. Shiites indeed believe that Allah wouldn’t leave man without guidance after the Prophet’s death. Leadership in the sense of approved and inspired leaders by Allah swt Himself. By the way: ahadith recorded by Sahih Buchari, which are important to Sunnis too, confirm this issue:

Volume 9, Book 89, Number 306:

Narrated Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri:

The Prophet said, “Allah never sends a prophet or gives the Caliphate to a Caliph but that he (the prophet or the Caliph) has two groups of advisors: A group advising him to do good and exhorts him to do it, and the other group advising him to do evil and exhorts him to do it. But the protected person (against such evil advisors) is the one protected by Allah.’ ”

Volume 9, Book 89, Number 329:

Narrated Jabir bin Samura:

I heard the Prophet saying, “There will be twelve Muslim rulers (who will rule all the Islamic world).” He then said a sentence which I did not hear. My father said, “All of them (those rulers) will be from Quraish.”

The fact that Qur’an gives no definite answer, is not surprising either. Later leaders after the Prophets have a lower status than the Prophets. Their names aren’t mentioned. This is why the majority of Muslims criticize the efforts to re-instate the four schools, maddhahib, of Sunni law in their former high status; their wisdom may very well be followed, however, it cannot be imposed upon us to follow a maddhab and pledge it an oath of allegiance. Secondly, the majority of Muslims criticize the Shiite practice to proclaim the traditions transmitted from ‘Ali ra and the ten Imams into compulsory religious ahadith. The sayings and practices of these people have, to my best knowledge, been recorded and are teached by the Shiites. Large part of Sunni criticism focuses on this overstated status of the Imams.

Sunni main criticism, however, deals with the misunderstandings concerning ‘Ali’s caliphate. Shiites are not justified to suppose ‘Ali ra receiving not enough honorable credit in Sunni Islam. ‘Ali was made caliph and belongs to the four righteous caliphs. He does receive honor. Secondly, just before his passing away the Prophet appointed not ‘Ali but Abu Bakr to lead to people in prayer:

Volume 1, Book 11, Number 649:

Narrated Anas:

The Prophet did not come out for three days. The people stood for the prayer and Abu Bakr went ahead to lead the prayer. (In the meantime) the Prophet caught hold of the curtain and lifted it. When the face of the Prophet appeared we had never seen a scene more pleasing than the face of the Prophet as it appeared then. The Prophet beckoned to Abu Bakr to lead the people in the prayer and then let the curtain fall. We did not see him (again) till he died.

Apparently someone other than ‘Ali was allowed to lead the faithful. Neither had the Prophet saws appointed a successor or caliph, also according ‘Ali’s own words:

Volume 5, Book 59, Number 728:

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Abbas:

Ali bin Abu Talib came out of the house of Allah’s Apostle during his fatal illness. The people asked, “O Abu Hasan (i.e. Ali)! How is the health of Allah’s Apostle this morning?” ‘Ali replied, “He has recovered with the Grace of Allah.” ‘Abbas bin ‘Abdul Muttalib held him by the hand and said to him, “In three days you, by Allah, will be ruled (by somebody else ), And by Allah, I feel that Allah’s Apostle will die from this ailment of his, for I know how the faces of the offspring of ‘Abdul Muttalib look at the time of their death. So let us go to Allah’s Apostle and ask him who will take over the Caliphate. If it is given to us we will know as to it, and if it is given to somebody else, we will inform him so that he may tell the new ruler to take care of us.” ‘Ali said, “By Allah, if we asked Allah’s Apostle for it (i.e. the Caliphate) and he denied it us, the people will never give it to us after that. And by Allah, I will not ask Allah’s Apostle for it.”

Shiites themselves, however, see this differently. They state that the Prophet saws did introduce his son in law ‘Ali as the people’s future leader during his farewell sermon after his last pilgrimage to Mecca. Who likes to know more of it, should visit search engines and follow the name Ghadir Khumm… that should give you quite some hours of reading material.

Patricia Crone seems to ignore that Sunni development took another path after ‘Ali’s death than Shiite. The Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs named themselves caliph, but Sunnis themselves don’t recognize them as righteous caliphs. ‘Ali was their last one and he died less than thirty years after his father in law. ‘Ali was to Shiites, however, the first of eleven caliphs, who swiftly succeeded each other. Already early in their history the eleventh caliphate was over. The twelfth caliph, whom they await now, disappeared as a child in 941 AD and will return one day. However, their caliphate era had indeed ended then. This is how caliphate ended.

Whoever likes to read more of Trouw’s unrealistic and unfounded views on the birth of Islam and masters Dutch, should look under the head De Verdieping. (Indepth)

Trouw sees itself as quite the scholar now, but with which evidence, especially when we check Shiite statements, where Ali and his sons were not seen as prophets:

Imam Hussain

The Imam was one of Prophet Muhammad’s (saws) much beloved grandsons. As soon as he heard of his grandson’s birth, he ran to Fatima’s (ra) house and shouted immediately: ‘bring me my son!’ Asma came with Imam Hussein to the Prophet, he kissed him, covered him with a white cloth and read adhan into his right ear and iqama into the left. The Prophet was full of joy, but also full of sadness. He knew what was to happen to this Holy Imam in Karbala and could not hold his tears. Imam Hussein holds an important position in Islam that only few, the Imams, could achieve. Imam Hussein was brought into mubahala by the Prophet. Mubahala is the state where a person has a strong conviction and believe it to be true, but cannot persuade others. They then pray to Allah to curse the one who lies, or holds the wrong view. On this occasion the country’s best people are chosen to perform this Mubahala. Ahlubait Jongeren.

It is fascinating, nice, to philosophize on how Islam might alternatively had developed, however, we are still bound to existing historic records. It concerns onetime events and they can only be proved by witness. The arrival of Islam under Prophet Muhammad saws has extensively been recorded by many oral and writing witnesses, plus that many  of the Prophet’s and his near companions’ personal belongings have been carefully conserved. It is hard fighting such large legacy and Christian and Jewish efforts to do so cannot be seen as highly professional or scientific. It is allowed of course, however, they are stuck in the level of childish and hobbyist efforts leading to nothing tangible.

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