Dr. Jonathan Brown on Historical Criticism of Islamic Primary Texts

A post based on my lecture notes from a talk given by Dr. Jonathan Brown, where he discussed the historical critical method and how it’s been applied to Islamic texts and especially hadith.

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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم، وصلوات الله وسلامه على أشرف المرسلين

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

This blog post is adapted from my notes taken from Dr. Jonathan A. C. Brown’s lecture on the topic of historical criticism and how it’s been applied to Islamic primary texts, especially the hadith collections. Watch the lecture here: part 1part 2part 3. Note that it’s about 3 hours long including the Q&A, so be warned. It’s definitely worth a watch though, from beginning to end.

The lecture was given around the time that the UK government-sponsored documentary Islam: The Untold Story by charlatan historian Tom Holland was in the news. Basically, the documentary tries to tell a speculative revisionist story of the origins of Islam. Dr. Brown’s lecture is not a direct response to the documentary, but it contextualizes some of the assumptions being made in this documentary and other revisionist pieces that are claiming to examine Islam from a “critical” lens. Anyway, I’ll end the introduction here and start the portion based on my notes. Note that the section “My Thoughts” at the end of this post is not based on the lecture; those opinions are strictly mine.

Continue reading “Dr. Jonathan Brown on Historical Criticism of Islamic Primary Texts”

The Diversity of Religion

Humans follow many diverse religions, each of which claims to be the truth. What’s the best explanation for this?

بسم الله الرحمٰن الرحيم، وصلوات الله وسلامه على أشرف المرسلين

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Human beings follow many, many religions, and each one claims to be the truth. Obviously, these claims to absolute truth are, for the most part, irreconcilable. Christianity and Hinduism can’t be true at the same time. Same for Islam and Zoroastrianism. Either there is one God, or many deities, or none. The mutual exclusivity of the world’s religions (and for the purposes of this post I’ll count atheism/agnosticism as a “religion” even though they’re technically not) should be quite clear to most people, hopefully.

So how do we explain this diversity? Continue reading “The Diversity of Religion”

Ways to better the ummah

A few suggestions to better the state that we find the ummah in today.

بسم الله الرحمٰن الرحيم، وصلوات الله وسلامه على أشرف المرسلين

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

I just watched a khutbah by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan (about the Paris shooting) which gave a relatively grim outlook on the current state of the Muslim ummah. You can see the khutbah here. I left some comments which you can read/reply to here and here. I will reprint the second comment below.

Some ideas to better the ummah: Continue reading “Ways to better the ummah”