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A set of rules instead of faith and cultural influences.

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  • A set of rules instead of faith and cultural influences.

    I wanted to make an account and ask people opinion on many matters for a long time. I'm in my early twenties and live alone without any muslim friends. In the mosque in my town they only speak Arabic which I can't understand, (inshallah this summer I will make a proper start with learning the language). So I'm quite solitary in religious affairs, I always study the Quran alone and look at commentary for explanations and interpretations. Sometimes I google for opinions on matters that I don't find in the Quran, but always end up confused. This is the first time that I actually reach out to people.

    This may sound strange but I feel like Islam is sometimes being associated with some sort of list of rules, like a checklist. Things that don't add to your faith, things what I believe to be meaningless. I know that their are rules which you have to follow. But sometimes I think that external influences like culture mixed with religion. For example: I stumbled multiple times on the assumed fact that it's haram to shave your beard. I googled the matter and saw some people referening to the quran but never an actual passage saying something directly about it nor did I ever found a something about it while reading the quran (please correct me if I'm wrong). I think that having a beard doesn't contribute to my faith. In short I think more rules are being created from sources outside the Quran which leads to diverging towards issues on things that aren't important. I would like to know if any of you people ever thought of this?

    I'm having some difficulty explaining what I want to say but I hope that you will understand. It isn't my intention to be disrespectful to anybody.

  • #2
    Re: A set of rules instead of faith and cultural influences.

    The sources are Qur'an and Hadeeth.

    The source for keeping a beard is in hadeeth which are (autheticated) narrations attributed to the messenger of Allah

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    • #3
      Re: A set of rules instead of faith and cultural influences.

      I may have taken a tangent, but here's a perspective for you.

      Yes, I've thought about this before. I've thought about this often, originally relating to life rather than Islam. I have a dislike for rules in general, unless I've understood they're conducive to a given objective and even then premise is something I will always question. Consequently, I developed an early relationship with my parents consisting of the question, 'Why?' This tends to annoy a lot of people, my parents and most of my family never understood this about me.

      However, I believe it's something related to finding meaning and different people find meaning that is suited to them. Some find meaning in their families and structures that already exist, such as cultural or societal ethics and expectations, serving people and working deliberately. Others find meaning in seeing the bigger picture and asking questions like, 'What's the purpose of life? What's the point of doing this? Why do I need to listen to my parents? Why must I care about the opinions of others? My morality is private to me, isn't it? Is this all there is to life? What will become of my thoughts? What will become of my actions? Is there no individualism? Why must I care about altruism? Why can't I follow objectivism? etc.' It can lead into questions such as, 'Why Islam? Why not another religion? What makes religion relevant anyway?' if you're born into a Muslim family. Usually, for most people, it's likely a mix of all of this. I'm guessing you lean towards the latter type.

      I don't find your question disrespectful at all, it is extremely difficult for me to perform an act when I don't understand it. On top of that, it goes against my values - to act as someone I'm not.

      How do we counter this? You find your own meaning. With Islam, I could have remained one of those people who just took on the title of 'Muslim'; life would have been easy and my family wouldn't have made a big deal about it. That's not how I work, I want to know and my mind is never at rest. If you're like this, you need begin to look at Islam more holistically. Everything is intrinsically linked. Culture is up for debate.

      If you're a Muslim, you must believe in both the Qur'an and Hadeeth thus my advice above is based on the assumption that you do.
      Ya Muqallib al-Quloob, thabbit qalbi 'alaa Deenik
      O' Converter of Hearts, make my heart steadfast upon Thy Way
      We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: A set of rules instead of faith and cultural influences.

        Originally posted by Ismael1 View Post
        I wanted to make an account and ask people opinion on many matters for a long time. I'm in my early twenties and live alone without any muslim friends. In the mosque in my town they only speak Arabic which I can't understand, (inshallah this summer I will make a proper start with learning the language). So I'm quite solitary in religious affairs, I always study the Quran alone and look at commentary for explanations and interpretations. Sometimes I google for opinions on matters that I don't find in the Quran, but always end up confused. This is the first time that I actually reach out to people.

        This may sound strange but I feel like Islam is sometimes being associated with some sort of list of rules, like a checklist. Things that don't add to your faith, things what I believe to be meaningless. I know that their are rules which you have to follow. But sometimes I think that external influences like culture mixed with religion. For example: I stumbled multiple times on the assumed fact that it's haram to shave your beard. I googled the matter and saw some people referening to the quran but never an actual passage saying something directly about it nor did I ever found a something about it while reading the quran (please correct me if I'm wrong). I think that having a beard doesn't contribute to my faith. In short I think more rules are being created from sources outside the Quran which leads to diverging towards issues on things that aren't important. I would like to know if any of you people ever thought of this?

        I'm having some difficulty explaining what I want to say but I hope that you will understand. It isn't my intention to be disrespectful to anybody.
        I also believe that many of us Muslims are unfortunately becoming very legalistic in our attitude; and we are losing a sense of proportion' which is necessary to upkeep the spirit of any religious tradition.

        There are about 6000 verses in the Quran; and only a few hundred verses are about legal matters (things you should do and things you should avoid). The rest is about understanding and loving the Divine, understanding the universe that He has created, and the fundamental human virtues.

        There are only "two" verses in the Quran that talk about the hijab or how a Muslim woman should dress (and I do not deny that the hijab is an obligation in this religion); but in contrast to these two verses, there are more than fifty verses that explicitly mention "patience"; there are at least 114 verses that mention "mercy" (if we only count the Bismillah at the beginning of each surah, and forget about all the rest). So, it should be clear that these virtues are more important in Allah's sight than how a man or woman dresses outwardly.

        However, many of us Muslims still prefer to pay more attention to how long one's beard is, or what colour one's abaya is, than to focus on fundamental virtues such as "patience", "honesty", "sincerity", "mercy", "humility", "thankfulness", "contentment", and all of the other virtues. I'm dramatising a bit; but I think we should think sincerely about living the spirit of Islam, and not only its form.
        Last edited by Siraj al-Din; 06-05-16, 02:54 AM.

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        • #5
          Re: A set of rules instead of faith and cultural influences.

          Yes, the sources are both Quran and Hadeeth.

          Once I've read something like "some rules of Islam can be molded and shaped as times change".

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: A set of rules instead of faith and cultural influences.

            Originally posted by Ismael1 View Post
            I wanted to make an account and ask people opinion on many matters for a long time. I'm in my early twenties and live alone without any muslim friends. In the mosque in my town they only speak Arabic which I can't understand, (inshallah this summer I will make a proper start with learning the language). So I'm quite solitary in religious affairs, I always study the Quran alone and look at commentary for explanations and interpretations. Sometimes I google for opinions on matters that I don't find in the Quran, but always end up confused. This is the first time that I actually reach out to people.

            This may sound strange but I feel like Islam is sometimes being associated with some sort of list of rules, like a checklist. Things that don't add to your faith, things what I believe to be meaningless. I know that their are rules which you have to follow. But sometimes I think that external influences like culture mixed with religion. For example: I stumbled multiple times on the assumed fact that it's haram to shave your beard. I googled the matter and saw some people referening to the quran but never an actual passage saying something directly about it nor did I ever found a something about it while reading the quran (please correct me if I'm wrong). I think that having a beard doesn't contribute to my faith. In short I think more rules are being created from sources outside the Quran which leads to diverging towards issues on things that aren't important. I would like to know if any of you people ever thought of this?

            I'm having some difficulty explaining what I want to say but I hope that you will understand. It isn't my intention to be disrespectful to anybody.
            The prevailing attitude of legalism that it is to say confine the whole reality of this vast religion to only the work of the jurists is deeply problematic. Historically, you can witness throughout that this religion was more than just a collection of legal traditions. It inspired spiritual practises and traditions, great works of poetry, philosophy and literature. In conclusion, to see the reality of Islam in only the books of the jurists is deeply problematic.

            Imam Malik discussed this dilemma beautifully, ""Whoever studies jurisprudence [fiqh] and didn't study Sufism (tasawwuf) will be corrupted; and whoever studied tasawwuf and didn't study fiqh will become a heretic; and whoever combined both will be reach the Truth." That is to say that within the whole reality of this religion connecting the legal dimension to the spiritual and ethical domains is an imperative. To view the rules in isolation of all these other integral and important facets is unwise. Furthermore, to view the rules in isolation of an overarching philosophy of law is also quite reductionist - rules can and should be viewed within the Islamic context within the overarching principles and objectives of the Way (Maqasid Al Shariah). The way Muslims define Sharia today is incredibly limited, reducing every thing to legalistic norms when the Sharia is a much broader spiritual and ethical concept embedded in the Qur'an.

            To a certain degree culture will influence the production of religious norms and especially legal rules. The jurists recognized "context" as a mediating influence on the production of legal opinions that have to do with worldly affairs (mu'amalat). Furthermore, cultural norms themselves were sometimes used in legal discussion - concepts such as 'urf (custom) are prevalent in the legal tradition. Finally, as humans we are products of our time, culture and historical period - the way we grapple with this fluidity is to say that issues of ibadaat (worship) are constant however issues of social, political and ethical import are constantly in flux since they are revised.

            There are deeply devout Muslims today in some parts of the Ummah who sincerely believe in a reading of the Qur'an that prevents them from accepting legislation that makes domestic violence a punishable crime, that prevents it being considered only a 'private matter'. Cultural bias invariably affects our interpretation of legal and social norms. This is perhaps unavoidable.

            The point being that whilst we have certainty in the core principles of this religion - the Five Pillars and so on, when it comes to ethical and legal issues we have an incredible array and diversity of opinions and interpretations.

            In terms of generating legal norms within the Islamic tradition I recommend that you read Professor Hashim Kamali's "Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence":
            https://d1.islamhouse.com/data/en/ih...isprudence.pdf

            This explains how the legal tradition developed.

            For a robust history of Islamic law, Professor Hallaq has written a brilliant and easy to read introduction:
            https://iuristebi.files.wordpress.co...slamic-law.pdf

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            • #7
              Re: A set of rules instead of faith and cultural influences.

              The purpose of Islam was to bring URGENCY ON CULTURAL DISTILLATION.
              Cultural diffusion, assimilation and succession happens with spontaneous combustion!
              Synchronous Communication Adaptive Tech for the Specials!?!

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