12th March 2004, 10:04
The words of men
I am a new poster here. I was born a Jew, and later came to accept Jesus (Yeshua) as Messiah.
However, I have come to have serious questions about the integrity of both Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures), as well as the text of the Brit Hadashah (New Testament). So I was surpised to find that Islam seems to have the same doubts about these texts.
Even if I were to follow Torah, I would not be recognized as an Orthodox Jew because the Orthodox Jews require observance of Talmud (the writings of fallible men) in addition to Torah. They claim that the Oral Law was given to Moses at the same that the Law was given, even though G-d does not indicate this anywhere in Torah. I do not believe Talmud to be the inspired word of G-d.
I find much admirable in Christianity, and in the teachings of Jesus. But I have so much trouble with believing that Jesus was also G-d. That seems to contradict monotheism, and the only way it can be explained is with very compicated reasoning, much like the whole issue of the Trinity. That doesn't seem completely right to me.
And Christianity relies upon the writings of Paul, who never met Jesus. Paul's writings seem to even contradict the words of Jesus in several places.
But doesn't Islam have something similar to the Talmud with the Hadith?
Also, how do we know that the text of the Qur'an hasn't been tampered with over the years, since both Judaism and Christianity insists that their scripturs haven't been changed?
Edited by - Ashmath ibn Tawrat on 03/12/2004 04:26:06
12th March 2004, 12:29
If you were to study the history of Islam you would find that the study of Islamic knowledge was not restricted to "selected" people... but rather it is required that all muslims study and understand at least what they need in their daily life.
Why do I mention this? simply because the islamic books have been well preserved even though there have been attempts to change them... even nowdays.
As for the Quran, it is the only book that God mentions He will preserve. You will find that to be true. Some people try to change the quranic verses... but not from the source. Scholars review the books before they are printed in detail... and a mistake in one letter can lead to the banning of the while book.
As for "sunnah"... well.. you will find that there are people who dedicated their lives to verify whether the 'hadith' is truely from Prophet Mohammad or not. The truely trusted sayings are known insequence from the first person who said it to the modern times... and what these scholars do is study the people who said the hadith and at wht time in their life.. etc... so we can tell whether it is true or not.
Anyway... to summarise... the quran is preserved by God not because we would like it to be so but because He promised it. As for "hadith"... there are many people that hae dedicated their lives to verify sayings and whatever we find doubtful we leave. Only when the source is trustworthy do we take the hadith and follow it.
By the way... if you want to study islam and understand it... do go to the proper source. You will find that there are sects that have emerged that have dierted from islam and have even made up "hadith" that suits them...
13th March 2004, 03:51
Peace to you and welcome to the forum. Nice to have someone with a Jewish background – it is very interesting. I had written the following a while ago and I think it may be of some use to what you asked. Please feel free if you have any questions, queries etc.
“The primary sources of Islam are the Qur’an and the Sunnah. The whole of Islam is complete with these. The Ahadith is only a secondary source. It can be a valid tool in regards to finding out about the life of the Prophet (his Seera) and also as interpretations and elaborations on the Qur’an. They cannot give any extra laws or teachings that are to be held as obligatory for the Muslims to follow. This is simply because they were conveyed from individual to individual until they were recorded by Hadith Scholars. The job of the Prophet (P) was to convey the whole of the message to all of his followers. In turn, they would have to convey it to the rest of mankind (See Surah 2:143). In addition to this, there was no order (command) given by the prophet (P) for his followers to convey or remember his Hadith. It was only the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
The transmission of the Qur’an and the Sunnah are through the same source. That is the generation to generation communication. It started with the community of his followers and was passed to the next generation by them. Every subsequent generation passed them on to the next with consensus until today. The form of this transmission is however different. Whereas the Qur’an is spread orally and documentarily, the Sunnah is spread through the practical perpetuation of each community. These are very reliable methods and unlike the Ahadith, they are not based on peoples understanding and they aren’t affected by the errors of a few. Furthermore, history is clear that in each generation the Muslim community got bigger and even the first community contained many thousands of Muslims. Contrary to this, the Hadith are reports ascribed to the Prophet (P) as understood by a few individuals. These few individuals passed the report on to other few, who in turn passed it on again as they understood it from whom they received it, until it reached a Hadith scholar who wrote it down. Only after this, did the report begin to become famous around the world. As can been seen, the Hadith is in no way comparable to the Qur’an or the Sunnah.
After recognising the above, it becomes clear that the Qur’an and the Sunnah don’t rely on the Hadith. It’s the exact opposite – the Hadith rely on the Qur’an and the Sunnah and if any Hadith contradict the Qur’an or the Sunnah then the Hadith must be rejected as false. This is only common sense. The Qur’an and Sunnah are macro-history whereas the Ahadith are micro-history. The Quran was quoted (doesn’t depend on interpretation which can be wrong), and the Sunnah was copied as the acts were practically seen. Compare this to the Hadith which was not quoted but rather passed on as UNDERSTOOD, which means that it cannot be ruled out that the person could have misunderstood the Prophet (even if this person was very honest).”
Also have a look at the pages of the following threads that are under the interfaith dialog section (page 3):
Errors in the Quran pages 2-4 where I wrote about it (The preservation and transmission of the Qur’an).
"My turn to be a missionary" pages 1 & 2 Where it (the Transmission and preservation of the Qur’an) has been discussed.
Or why not go to the www.monthly-renaissance.com site, where you can click on “Important articles sorted by writer” (which is on the side of the page). Then click on “Qur’an” and you will find that the Scholar Shehzad Saleem has written a great deal about it (the preservation and transmission of the Qur’an).
Edited by - Hischam Khan on 03/12/2004 21:53:43
13th March 2004, 06:52
Thank you both for your kind replies. peace be to you both.
I know very little about Islam, but have borrowed a copy of the Koran from my library, and am reading it. It's more difficult, since it is not in the form of long stories as the Bible is.
It's all very interesting, and I appreciate the resources here.
I am here to learn.
Edited by - Ashmath ibn Tawrat on 03/13/2004 00:55:04
13th March 2004, 09:18
nice to have you with us.
I wish you the best.