Preface

What went wrong?

The reservations expressed in these posts arose from reading texts on jurisprudence and encountering therein problematic assumptions. For the question of what went wrong in Islam is hardly separable from what went wrong in jurisprudence.

Yet these issues have to be addressed, as not a few of the problems in the world of Islam result from misunderstandings of the Quran by those who are expected to understand it best, the jurists. For Muslims generally trust scholars to provide guidance.

Thus, I share a few of these concerns with the broader public in the expectation that they may contribute to a better understanding of Islam.

Emergence of tradition

The emergence of tradition had an impact not just upon the understanding of revelation but also on the development of jurisprudence. The prophetic traditions, known as the “sunna” or the way of the prophet, were recorded about two hundred years after the demise of the prophet.

Initially, the traditions were expected to “explain” revelation. It appears, however, that the end result was rather the reverse; revelation became harder to access and may even have been superseded to an extent by tradition. This reinforced a prophet-centric perception of the faith.

Designating tradition as revelation expanded the scope of revelation, as well as of the law. The assumed equality of revelation and the sunna in law meant that tradition would be upon an equal footing as revelation revelation in the sharia.

[Disclaimer: Readers are advised to check the veracity of the statements made in this post for themselves. If any reader finds an error in this post, kindly inform me].