How to Understand Prophetic Speech
He (Muhammad) does not speak of his own desire. It is no less than an Inspiration sent down to him. (Surah Najm, 53:3-4)
The Qur’an repeatedly commands every Muslim to follow the Prophetic example. The Traditions (Ahadith) of the Prophet, often more than the Qur’an, govern Muslim life in their ability to articulate practice of the faith. The Hadith provide the information to follow the example of the Prophet as a spouse, a parent, a neighbor, a leader, and when needed, a warrior. In sum, Muhammad as the paragon of perfection, as enshrined in Islamic doctrine and spirituality, hinges on his words. How are Muslims to understand not only his words but the spirit from which they emanate? More directly, what are the practices in our emulation that lead us to follow his example and not speak from mere desire? How do we infuse our spirits and words with those inspired by the scripture and its revealer?
All lectures by Jonathan Brown