The concept of an ideal, universal “Islamic State” has been in existence for a long time. Religious reformers in countries as diverse as Egypt, India and Indonesia have advocated for the establishment of Islamic states during the twentieth century. The acquisition of territory in Iraq and Syria by ISIL, (also known as ISIS or Daesh), in 2015 has brought the issue increasingly to our collective thoughts and to media headlines. This group’s claims are often presented by diverse media outlets and others, including academics, as an established fact in Islam. Such presentations give a monopolistic legitimacy to groups such as ISIL (or ISIS) and lock out traditional religious views and historical realities from the public square.
Dr. Jonathan Brown and Dr. Mohammad Shafi will present their clear analysis of why there is no claim for a universal Islamic State in the Qur’an or the normative practice and tradition of the Prophet. Historically, the Caliphate after the Prophet fell apart soon after Umar, claims of legitimacy by the Umayyads were constantly challenged and the presumed unity was shattered very early. The lived history of the Muslim peoples over the centuries shows that the idea is not practical or feasible.
A key tenet of belief in Islamic civilization was that God’s law, the Shariah, was the most just and perfect system of law for mankind. The primacy of the Shariah in the minds of many Muslims today remains strong, and an enduring tension in Muslim communities is negotiating the legitimacy of legal systems outside of the Shariah. This presentation will explore how classical Muslim scholars understood the relationship of the Shariah to justice, and how they reconciled their belief in the rule of law with the urgings of equity.
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?
Finding a hard time to accept hadith? Dr. Jonathan brown discusses hadith and criticism of hadith. From the Zaytuna conference, Reclaiming Our Faith: Negotiating Modern Theological Fault Lines held in Anaheim, California on May 25, 2013.
Islam and Authors welcomes Jonathan A. C. Brown, author of Hadith: Muhammad’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World. Brown’s Hadith book is new, comprehensive and accessible introduction to hadith- the transmitted reports about Muhammad’s words and actions. The bulk of Islamic law rests upon hadith reports. With the current controversies over sharia, Brown’s Hadith book is extremely relevant. It explains both Western and traditional Islamic approaches to hadith, has extremely informative charts and an easy-to-read format, and covers both Sunni and Shia views of hadith.
Jonathan Brown examines the historical misunderstandings about the Prophet Muhammad’s life to kick off the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies Spring 2011 Lecture Series. Recorded on February 15, 2011.