The Sharing Group Discussion on Ahadits Interpretation by Laymen

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Brother James Harris posted the following quote on The Sharing Group on the 5th March, 2015: “Ustadz Sa’id Ukur Nursi (r.a.) wrote, in his 28th Letter, on the dangers of ahadits interpretation attempts by the layman., ;It is not permissible to discuss ambiguous ahadits among the ordinary people, and to show off and justify oneself like a lawyer, and to rely on egotism to support ones arguments rather than on truth and right.  The question being broached and argued about is having an adverse effect on the minds of the poor ordinary people.  They cannot comprehend obscure allegorical ahadits like these, and if they deny them, it opens the terrifying door to their also denying definite, unambiguous ahadits that they cannot understand with their limited intelligences.  If they take the hadits on face value and accept the literal meaning and they spread it around, it paves the way for the people of misguidance to object to it and call it superstition.’” 

Brother Ali Camarata: First thing that came to mind is when Allah (s.w.t.) Says: 

سُوۡرَةُ آل عِمرَان

هُوَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنزَلَ عَلَيۡكَ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ مِنۡهُ ءَايَـٰتٌ۬ مُّحۡكَمَـٰتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَـٰبِهَـٰتٌ۬‌ۖ فَأَمَّا ٱلَّذِينَ فِى قُلُوبِهِمۡ زَيۡغٌ۬ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَـٰبَهَ مِنۡهُ ٱبۡتِغَآءَ ٱلۡفِتۡنَةِ وَٱبۡتِغَآءَ تَأۡوِيلِهِۦ‌ۗ وَمَا يَعۡلَمُ تَأۡوِيلَهُ ۥۤ إِلَّا ٱللَّهُ‌ۗ وَٱلرَّٲسِخُونَ فِى ٱلۡعِلۡمِ يَقُولُونَ ءَامَنَّا بِهِۦ كُلٌّ۬ مِّنۡ عِندِ رَبِّنَا‌ۗ وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّآ أُوْلُواْ ٱلۡأَلۡبَـٰبِ (٧) رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغۡ قُلُوبَنَا بَعۡدَ إِذۡ هَدَيۡتَنَا وَهَبۡ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحۡمَةً‌ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلۡوَهَّابُ (٨) 

He it is Who has Sent down to you the Book: in it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are not of well-established meaning.  But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is not of well-established meaning.  Seeking discord, and searching for its interpretation, but no one knows its true meanings except Allah, and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say, “We believe in it; the whole of it is from our Lord”; and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding.  “Our Lord!” (they say), “let not our hearts deviate now after You have Guided us, but Grant us Mercy from You: for You are the Grantor of bounties without measure. (Surah Ali ‘Imran:7-8) 

Brother Abdur Rab: This is a piece of nonsense.  God has Given us the ability to critically judge things and God urges us to apply our ‘aql and intelligence.  The ahadits are highly unreliable literature containing many spurious, absurd and outrageous stories falsely attributed to our Prophet (s.a.w.).  This literature does not pass the test of historicity - there are serious problems with the so-called isnad and matn; it has no theological sanction from the Qur’an  -rather many Qur’anic verses speak against the ahadits as a separate source of religious guidance and law; and it also does not meet the objectivity test - many narrations contradict the Qur’an, science and reason.  The so-called criteria used to authenticate the ahadits are inherently flawed and grossly inadequate.  It is from the ahadits that you get ideas that promote misogyny, intolerance, violence and terror, and even those that corrupt our religious beliefs and practices.  The ahadits have razed our Prophet’s (s.a.w.) private life to the ground.  I can cite numerous so-called swahih ahadits texts that bring such blatant falsehoods to the fore. 

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: There is a science to ahadits.  It requires vigorous training.  ‘Aql alone does not suffice.  That would be like saying one does not need to study engineering or medical science because we can use our ‘aql.  Even in literature and social sciences, we expect there to be training. 

Brother William Voller: Maybe some have missed the point?  It is more against people picking up ahadits and acting on them without a moment’s thought; this is dangerous.  Take the infamous hadits about women having inferior intellects.  Well, it does not quite say that and it is idiomatic, yet people use it either to oppress women or oppress Islam.  It is just not really getting it, better that most people do not know of it and stick with Riyadh asw-Swalihin. 

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: People do that for the Qur’an as well.  So stating ahadits are the source of that problem is incorrect.  People are the source of that problem. 

Brother Colin Turner: Brother Abdur Rab, you have missed the whole point.  Ustadz Nursi’s (r.a.) concern was for people who do not have the ability to understand ambiguous ahadits, denial of which will lead to those people denying those ahadits which are unambiguous.  This is not an issue of authenticity; this is an issue of the judicious and diplomatic preservation of the beliefs of simple, uncluttered and unsophisticated people in central Anatolia in the early 20th century.  You need to see it in context. 

Brother Tim Luckcock: But is it now being applied to a dumbed down latter day global peasantry? 

Sister Fatima Ali Elsanousi: I do not think that there is something that complicated in Islam that simple-minded people cannot understand?  I just find dividing people to those who can understand and those who can't is a bit tricky, and will open the door for endless judgement and arguments  The thing is that people are descriptive when practicing Islam, they refuse to link how did the Prophet (s.a.w.) lived his life and some ahadits.  So about the hadits that says women are inferior, did the Prophet (s.a.w.) practice that?  No, so if people were honest with themselves I guess they will be able to practice Islam right.  The case about us - the ordinary people - being put away from trying to connect with Qur’an and ahadits does a bit miss what I believe Islam wants us to do. 

Maybe in Ustadz Nursi’s (r.a.) days, there was no formal education that might possibly decrease people ability to see patterns between Qur’an and ahadits add to the lack of books and references.  Nowadays, with the formal education and the availability of resources, I believe that is not true.  While I personally did not study fiqh or ahadits in an educational institution, but I am and many of us have the tools and skills to interpret our holy texts and we all have access to information that enables us to understand which ahadits is consistent with the Quran in which is not. 

Brother Tim Luckcock: Maybe it is because I am a late starter but Islam, as a manifold historical tradition, is far from straightforward for the ordinary believer to master which as you suggest, Sister Fatima, runs counter to the criteria of simplicity, ease and practicality which I thought were supposed to be amongst its advantages over earlier revelations which had grown sophisticated and wayward?  “God so loved the world that he did not send a committee of scholars.” 

Sister Fatima Ali Elsanousi: What historical tradition, Brother Tim?  Could you explain a bit more of what you meant?  For me, as a person who lived most of my life in a Muslim-majority country, the way that people practice Islam and the arguments they have over books written hundreds of year ago were the reason that I almost, for a short period, wanted to leave Islam.  People do the wrong things, cut a verse out of context, and say that this imam or that imam said it is halal.  In my experience, I had to connect with concepts that we all humans understand: justice, love, respect and mercy, and link that to how the Prophet (s.a.w.) lived. 

Brother Tim Luckcock: I mean the entire historical phenomenon of Islam as a religion and civilisation with its many movements and cultural forms.  Its history is not monolithic and even if it was, I find it complicated and obscure.  If it was simple then we would not depend on an educated religious elite.  But at heart, I know it should be simple enough for a child to understand. 

Gospel according to Matthew 19:14

14 But Jesus said, “Let the children be, do not keep them back from me; the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 

14 ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν: Ἄφετε τὰ παιδία καὶ μὴ κωλύετε αὐτὰ ἐλθεῖν πρός με: τῶν γὰρ τοιούτων ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν. 

14 Jesus vero ait eis: Sinite parvulos, et nolite eos prohibere ad me venire: talium est enim regnum cælorum. 

Brother Jossy Enriquez: After reading the ahadits for quite a bit, I find many, many ahadits have corrupted the good name of Islam and the Prophet (s.a.w.).  Just to give a few, from drinking camel urine, to the Prophet (s.a.w.) marrying a 6-year-old, sex with the animals, contract marriages ... The list can go on and on. 

Brother Hajj Ahmad: The statement by Ustadz Nursi (r.a.) can be interpreted in several ways, but I will not go there.  What Sister Fatima says is true for me and is the way I approach Islam, and this connects with a post somewhere on this page about humanity before a complicated discussion about Islamic history or the degree of usability of ahadits, and so forth.  For those who wish to exercise their intellect discerning the different points of view in the monolithic Islamic historical experience, so be it.  But in essence, Islam is simple and uncomplicated: it is for the masses; those who want to devote themselves to other intellectual endeavours such as the meaning of ahadits, well, it is for them too.  Bismillah, go for it, as they say. 

Brother Tone Scala: There is a balance, and at a halaqah I was at, a speaker shared a narration from one of the descendants of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and teacher of Imam Abu Hanifah Nu’man ibn Tsabit (r.a.) and Imam Abu ‘Abdullah Malik ibn Anas (r.a.), Imam Ja’far ibn Muhammad as-Swadiq (q.s.).  The narration stated that there are four pillars which certainty in our faith rests on: the Qur’an, the ahadits, the scholars who have mastered the science, and the fourth, and most importantly, is our ‘aql. 

Brother Abdur Rab: Brother Colin Turner, Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, and others, I am wondering if this site is for defending the authority and authenticity of the ahadits.  Please read my two pieces, one a review of ‘Aishah Musa’s “Hadith as Scripture” and another on the historicity of the ahadits.  Please check out these pieces here (#23 and #18): Explore The Quran | My Articles 

Brother Colin Turner: There is a difference between critical analysis of ahadits and the wholesale dismissal of the entire corpus.  Critical analysis is essential; wholesale dismissal unwarranted and foolhardy. 

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: I took a look, Brother Abdur Rab. I am not impressed.  There are quite a few fundamental errors in some of them, not least the understanding of the Arabic is inadequate.  Also all these have been addressed comprehensively in ages past.  Also, Irshad Manji is not a scholar.  Would I ask a cobbler on his opinion on nuclear physics? 

It is ridiculous to consider that a tiny group of people, with no actual scholarship, no real training, no competent knowledge of the Arabic knowledge, the Qur’an and the related sciences of the religion can think that they can dismiss 1,400 years of scholarship. I certain believe, and that is the position of our scholarship, that we must be critical in the authentication of ahadits, rigorous in the criticism of them, and discerning in the application. 

Most Quranist quote ahadits as if we apply them all the shari’ah.  They use this as an excuse to put the blame of select cases the inadequacy of the application or understanding of shari’ah, or their misinterpretation of it, squarely on ahadits.  This is a demonstrated ignorance of both the compilation process, which seeks primarily to authenticate the sanad, the silsilah, and the manaqib; and the actual ahadits criticism which examine the matn.  They then misunderstand the process of ifta’ of which ahadits is a portion of it. 

For example, there is no hukm stating we can marry 6-year-old girls, for example.  That the Saudis do it is a primary example why we, the Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jama’ah, have a problem with the Wahhabi sect.  Also, the fact that the chain is ahad in Shaykh Hisham ibn ‘Urwah (r.a.), and was not reported by any person in Madina makes it highly suspect by most of us, even though it is found in the jami’ of Imam Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad ibn Isma’il al-Bukhari (r.a.).  Imam ‘Asakir ad-Din Abu al-Husayn Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj (r.a.) rejected it as forged, and Imam Malik (r.a.), who was in Madina in the time of the tabi’un did not mention it entirely. 

For example, there is no hukm on the merits of drinking urine. As a matter of fact, many scholars of the Ahl ar-Ra’yy, reject this hadits.  It is so obviously against common sense that no one, unless he is exceptionally controversial, or ignorant, cites it. 

Brother Jossy Enriquez: Whether it is controversial or ignorant is not my point of argument.  My point is that ahadits such as drinking camel’s urine is found in Swahih al-Bukhari.  So what was actually rejected. 

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: The application, for on.  I am not into drinking urine.  The closest I ever got was Bud Light.  Finding a narration in any book of ahadits, including ash-Skaykhayn, is not proof of unanimous acceptance.  A hadits is merely a snapshot of a moment.  It is neither a fatwa nor a hukm.  To move from rejecting a narration to rejecting the entire book it is found, to rejecting the entire corpus of ahadits is illogical. 

Brother William Voller: I was just reading that hadits, not for the camel urine, but for the ‘Uraynah bandits.  Anyway, we could reject it or think there is more to it?  Just using my own reason, baby urine is good for the skin, nurses used to put nappies on their faces  I remember horse mare urine is also used a lot in cosmetics.  Urine in the bladder is sterile.  These were poor people and they used what was available.  I personally just take that is permissible to consume najasah if there was a health benefit, so pig heart valves are now permitted to use.  Either way, I do not think it is sufficient to throw it all away based on this.  I could be happy to also think that the words were subtly different, but that has been lost due to an alternative purpose, because actually the whole hadits is about the Revelation of Surah al-Ma’idah:33-34: 

سُوۡرَةُ المَائدة

إِنَّمَا جَزَٲٓؤُاْ ٱلَّذِينَ يُحَارِبُونَ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۥ وَيَسۡعَوۡنَ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَسَادًا أَن يُقَتَّلُوٓاْ أَوۡ يُصَلَّبُوٓاْ أَوۡ تُقَطَّعَ أَيۡدِيهِمۡ وَأَرۡجُلُهُم مِّنۡ خِلَـٰفٍ أَوۡ يُنفَوۡاْ مِنَ ٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۚ ذَٲلِكَ لَهُمۡ خِزۡىٌ۬ فِى ٱلدُّنۡيَا‌ۖ وَلَهُمۡ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ (٣٣) إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ تَابُواْ مِن قَبۡلِ أَن تَقۡدِرُواْ عَلَيۡہِمۡ‌ۖ فَٱعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَفُورٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬ (٣٤) 

The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter. ― Except for those who repent before they fall into your power: in that case, know that Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surah al-Ma’idah:33-34) 

Brother Tim Luckcock: Whatever the context, it serves to elevate a political class of religious experts above a servile class of ordinary incompetent Muslims.  Is this not just a perverse doctrine of Muslim priestcraft similar to the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church?  How can a prophetic Divine Revelation accessible to all of us without human mediation be so reduced to a theocratic form of technocracy?  Surely this project in scientific religiosity has failed if there are more ignorant Muslims in the world than ever before? 

Brother William Voller: It's an interesting thought, Brother Tim Luckcock: are we better off now with the whole Salafi type?  Where is your proof?  Does it make our scholars better? 

Brother Tim Luckcock: Ustadz Nursi (r.a.) is my proof.  The Ottoman caliphate with all its centres of Islamic science failed in its educational mission.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) listened to God and practised what he preached, simply.  Why should that message and practice then need to be mediated and regimented by a class of self-appointed political scholars progressively excluding and dumbing down more and more people? 

Brother James Harris: Anti-ahadits arguments are dead in the water if they are not based on analyses of the Arabic texts.  Without that, the arguments put forward are easily dismissed.  Discussion based on translations just does not cut it. 

Brother Tim, Ustadz Nursi (q.s.) was not dismissing people who do not have a detailed understanding of hadith, but rather warning people about the danger of those who twist the meanings of the hadith for their own purposes. 

Brother Tim Luckcock: I appreciate that, Brother James.  I am challenging the very ideological construction of Islam and its appropriation by scholastics that gives rise to such contorted dilemmas in the first place.  As I implied earlier, I am viewing this from the perspective of a late starter as a “new Muslim” and that seems to make one a second class citizen in terms of the hierarchisation of knowledge. 

Brother James Harris: Yes, this is certainly a problem, Brother Tim.  No doubt about that. 

Sister Fatima Ali Elsanousi: Maybe translations should be done by people of a specific society to their own people, so, someone from a European background can translate the texts from perspective that people of similar background would understand?  What do you think, Brother James? 

About Ustadz Nursi (r.a.), generally I find his writings not so helpful for Arabs at least.  We suffer from lower rates of productivity and we are behind the world in research and innovation, so the texts of Nursi will really make it worse for us.  Maybe what he wrote was needed in his time, but now for us Arabs. I would not recommend them at all. 

Brother James Harris: Interesting, Sister Fatima.  In what way is Ustadz Nursi’s (r.a.) teaching against research and innovation?  I agree with you on the issue of translators being native speakers.  You should note though that the translator, Dr. Şükran Vahide, is a British convert to Islam.  Her original name is Mary Weld, and she is a native English speaker. 

Brother Colin Turner: I would be interested to know how Ustadz Nursi’s (r.a.) teachings are dysfunctional to research and innovation? 

Sister Fatima Ali Elsanousi: Well, it is not literally against research and innovation, Brother James Harris: and Brother Colin Turner, but generally I find most of his writings encourage a spirit of passivity and accepting things in life as they are.  I think research and innovation come from a culture of people being critical about things in life as they are and questioning them instead of accepting them.  Anyone who comes across the depth of the Arabic culture nowadays would find culturally that it is acceptable to be lazy and do nothing and wait for du’a to solve our problems. 

I honestly do not know much about English translations, Brother James Harris:, but I can see the need of some sort of local understandings to Islam even in the Arab world.  I generally find scholars from Egypt and Syria makes more sense to me than scholars from the Gulf. 

Brother James Harris: That may be a characteristic of some in the Arab world, but I have not seen such attitudes among students of the Risalah an-Nur. 

Brother Tim Luckcock: If one acknowledges the concept of layman is at least problematic and at most anti-Islamic, why perpetuate the problem with this kind of elitist discourse? 

Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: There are benefits in the use of alcohol in medicine and the Hanafi madzhab is particular generous.  Urine also has medical benefits that are well documented.  Those that make an issue of people drinking camels urine or human urine are going against thousands of years of urotherapy.  I find it quite sanctimonious that Muslims ridicule Hindus for their practice of drinking cow urine. 

Brother James Harris: It is still widely used as a natural remedy among desert communities in the Arabian Peninsula.  Bedouin I have spoken to swear by it.  I do not understand why people are so horrified by it.  This is not because of a hadits, but because it is ancient medical knowledge. 

Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: We have to realise just how much we have been imbued and indoctrinated with values and beliefs that are thoroughly are in opposition to indigenous Bedouins.  Those living in the harshest of climates have so much to teach us.  There is a really interesting book by Dr. Jared Mason Diamond called “Collapse”.  Bedouins have a blueprint of sustainability.  If they waste resources, they will suffer.  But as we approach peak oil and reduction in resource we have a lot to learn from Bedouin.  The hadits gives us an insight into the mindset of a very different type of people who in their actions created more harmony.  The way we use our resources of wealth and health is very destructive.  We have to think of ourselves as essentially tyrannical and from that vantage point address hadits. 

Brother James Harris: The development of the ancient desert culture in Arabia was made possible only through human interdependence with the camel.  This was a marvel of human ingenuity.  The mocking of this culture does not impress me, but is all too common nowadays 

Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: I feel that the world has changed so drastically over the last two hundred year that a new discipline needs to be introduced to the study of hadits: anthropology.  We need to study people who still live without electricity, we need to re envisage the premodern world to actually add depth to our understanding.  I feel that the earlier muhadditsin understood the context of ahadits as they lived in world view that had not differed that much from the people of Madina.  Madina retained its essence even though we are reading about the ‘ulama of later periods lamenting how much it had changed.  The culture there is completely different and will obviously change the way we understand ahadits. 

Brother James Harris: I agree with you on that, Brother Abdulkareem.  When one gains an insight into how a certain practice fits into the broader culture of a community, that practice is given extra meaning and value. 

Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: Many of the ‘ulama in the past actually went to live with the Bedouin to understand the Qur’an and ahadits better. 

Brother Joel Troxell: Would not those targeted by this quote be scholars?  I personally find this quote very problematic because it does make a distinction between the learned and the unlearned.  Maybe I am reading the Qur’an, or rather a translation of the Qur’an since I am unlearned, but rather idealistically, I come to the conclusion that anyone, regardless of level of learning or cultural situation, can receive right guidance directly from God through a process of careful consideration of the world around us and the choices we make.  I am also a little offended by the slippery slope assertion that the denial of obscure ahadits will lead to the denial of obvious ones.  People do not deny ahadits in and of themselves.  They deny some unjust action or cultural accretion that becomes sacrosanct and justified by scholarship.  Quranists aren't really the problem; they are a symptom of a system of interpretation in Islam that has gone terribly wrong.  I think elements of this thread show that if you fix the problem instead of just attacking the symptom, things tend to resolve themselves peacefully and amicably. 

Brother Colin Turner: Sister Fatima Ali Elsanousi, if you think that Ustadz Nursi (r.a.) encourages passivity, it is clear that - with respect - you have either read something of his out of context, or you have not read widely of his works.  Ustadz Nursi’s (r.a.) take on sociopolitical life is that one must adopt a position of positive action, which flies totally in the face of your observations on his apparent encouragement of complacency and laziness.  Or perhaps, your teachers in Sudan were at fault.  I think what the Arabs - and all Muslims, if not all humans - need right now is a Nursian perspective on individual and social life.  I agree that the Arabs in general are perhaps in the greatest need of help, but Ustadz Nursi (r.a.) provides it, if only people were ready to listen, digest and understand. 

Brother James Harris: Brother Joel, firstly, the quote does not insinuate that non-scholars are cut off from God’s Guidance, and that was certainly not the attitude of Ustadz Nursi (r.a.). 

Secondly, I am not sure what the problem is by recognising that there are those who are trained to interpret the ahadits. The quote was targeting those who do not do this properly and misrepresent the ahadits, whether they are scholars or not).  It is not targeting a particular class of people, but rather the misrepresentation of the religion. 

Thirdly, if the hadits should be thrown out because of “some unjust action or cultural accretion”, then it follows that the Qur’an should be thrown out for the same reason, should it not?  Just look at how ISIS use Qur’anic verses to justify their outrages. 

Brother Joel Troxell: Brother James Harris:, I have no problem with people specialising in interpreting ahadits.  I have a problem when they do so authoritatively.  My philosophical qualm with traditional Islam is not so much one of process, but authority.  What right does a scholar in Jordan, or even Canada for that matter, to tell me about inheritance and how to manage my domestic affairs based on ahad narrations rooted in 7th century Bedouin culture and assumptions?  I am not saying ahadits should be thrown out, but let us face it, there is a categorical difference between what happens when people read the Qur’an and when people read ahadits.  The Qur’an is much more universal and explicit in stating Divine principles of justice.  When you look at the assumptions and behaviours of Muslims in modernity, the most prejudicial, superstitious, and oppressive beliefs largely do not come from some ignorant reading of the Qur’an, but from giving ahadits an undeserved position of authority in governing the ethical, social, and religious actions of Muslims.  What ISIS does with the Qur’an is a red herring because they constitute such a minority of Muslims.  But the number of Muslims who are okay with traditional interpretations of cross-religious inheritance restrictions, completely argued by scholars from ahadits, is much larger.  The number of Muslims who discount the pluralistic nature of the Qur’an because of the petty exclusivist ramblings of some classical scholars is much larger as well.  That seems to be the bigger issue. 

Sister Fatima Ali Elsanousi: Well, Brother Colin, generally people could read the same book, but still come out with different conclusions and understandings depending on their background and their depth of knowledge in a given topic.  About Ustadz Nursi (r.a.), I said what I think and do not want to defend my opinion. But I have not been accused before that I do not understand what I read so that is new  And from my readings in the life cycle of civilisations, different people need different knowledge depending on the stage of their civilisation, so I do not believe that a human from a society that has problems in over-consumption needs the same sort of support that another person from a society that most of its people lives on less than $2 a day. 

Brother Colin Turner: I did not say that you did not understand what you read; I said that either you had possibly read it out of context or you had not read widely enough within Ustadz Nursi’s (r.a.) output.  However, even if I had suggested that you didn't understand, what would have happened?  Either I would have been right or I would have been wrong.  If right, you would have benefited; if wrong, you could have prayed for my guidance.  None of us too big to be challenged. 

Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: Modernity is written indelibly over the phenomena of criminal insurgency in Syria and Libya.  It is us “moderns” that have a difficult time in accepting that.  It is easier to blame long dead scholars. 

Brother Joel Troxell: Modernity is not monolithic.


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