Islam 101, Part 2 by Peter Burrows firstname.lastname@example.org 12/27/14
“Islam is a religion that preaches peace—,” President Obama.
My copy of the Koran, the Yusuf Ali translation, is 423 pages long. It would be longer in the original Arabic, which has repetitions and extraneous phrasing making it poetic and easier to remember. In fact, “Koran” means “recitation” in Arabic, and much of the Koran was transcribed from the memories of close followers of Muhammad shortly after his death in 632 A.D.
Technically, any translation from the original Arabic is a blasphemy, but one tolerated to help spread Islam. Since translations differ on Arabic interpretations, to be an Islamic scholar, as well as to read the Koran in its sacred original, one should learn Arabic. That, however, would be just the beginning.
The Koran is NOT the sole sacred text in Islam. Far from it. Of almost equal importance are the Hadith, a vast collection of stories (hadiths) of Muhammad’s life, including details of various revelations. This makes the Hadith indispensable to understanding the Koran.
Robert Spencer, the author of eight books concerning Islam, says reading the Koran, a monologue of Allah speaking to Mohammad, is like overhearing a conversation between two strangers: “It’s confusing, disorientating, and ultimately incomprehensible. That’s where the Hadith, the traditions of Muhammad enter. The Hadith are volumes upon volumes of stories of Muhammad in which he (and sometimes his followers) explains how and in what situations various verses of the Qur’an came to him, pronounces on disputed questions and leads by example.” Spencer concludes that without the Hadith, the Koran is often “simply incomprehensible.” (The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam, pg. 33.)
The Hadith are a source of Islamic authority second only to the Koran. While the Koran is not about the life of Muhammad, the Hadith are. They are the work of Muslim historians who began recording the mostly oral history of things that Muhammad said and did, starting about one hundred years after his death. There are six accepted Hadith, and they range in authority based upon their accepted authenticity.
They are named after their authors, and the two most revered are those by Imam Bukhari (d. 870 A.D.) and Imam Abul-Husain Muslim (d. 875 A.D.) They are known as the Two Sahihs, sahih being Arabic for “trustworthy.” You can purchase translations of Sahih Bukari and Sahih Muslim on Amazon for about $120 each. Each contains over 7,500 hadiths, each is 4,000 or more pages. When the Islamic scholar finishes those, there are four more.
To complicate the task of the Islamic scholar, the above apply only to the Sunni branch of Islam. The Shias have their own voluminous Hadith, the best know of which is The Four Books, written by three authors known as the Three Muhammads. One of my sources notes, “Shia clerics also make use of extensive collections and commentaries by later authors.” Oh, my.
The Hadiths leave no doubt that Islam is war, not peace. Sahih Bukari has five hadiths in which Muhammad is heard to say, “I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah —-.”
Need more? Sahih Bukari has three hadiths and Sahih Muslim four, in which Muhammad made similar remarks about talking stones and talking trees, this one is from Sahih Muslim Book 041, #6985: “Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be on him) as saying: ‘The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it it’s the tree of the Jews.’ ”
There are Muslims TODAY who think Jews in Israel are planting Gharqad trees around their homes as a defense against Muslim attacks. This means they take the hadith quite literally. With such people, peace is not possible.
Next week: More proof Islam is not peace.