// The social construction of authority?
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Madina Seeker

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« on: Dec 31, 2008 06:53 PM »

I see that there are different versions of Islam practiced across the globe, and that the question of what is the correct way is contested. This is true even amongst a superficially homogeneous group like the Sunnis. There will be some who suppost hamas and others fatah, some Sufism and others terrorism etc. And then there is the conflict of understanding between Sunnis and shias.

So with all of these voices and no independent, theory free means of standard measurement, it would seem to me that authority in Islam is a social construct.

So, there is something like a silent democracy with authority in the hands of the people, although they might no realise it.

People would like to think that their opinion is divinely inspired, and have "faith" that their way is the way of Allah. So, though, do opposing parties.

Through taking choices and making friends, through supporting this charity rather than that, or going to this dinner party and not that, authority in Islam and therefore Islam itself is socially constructed and in the hands of the people.
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 31, 2008 07:07 PM »


Just want to say don't confuse political parties or the things people do with Islam. There is one Islam, one faith, one God, one Prophet, one Book. And the vast majority of theological Islam 90% is agreed upon. The 10% do have differences in various theological issues -- such as minor laws or theology ie to raise the hands in prayer or not, what to include in a marriage contract, whether certain meat is allowed etc.

Beyond that what people do in their daily lives as Muslims doesn't have a reflection on the faith, whether they are democrats or republicans or support hamas or don't, really doesn't have anything to do with the religion. Those are all manifestations of how people would like to try to solve the problems of their day.

Even things like terrorism which is haram forbidden in Islam are some people's misguided way of solving their problems, but again it doesn't have anything to do with Islam and is in fact going against it's teachings.

So no, Islam isn't a social construct. It is Divine. What people do however is of their choice.
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 31, 2008 07:23 PM »

So then what about the koran only "submitters" who reject the hadith? Is there islam more or less (or equally) valid that yours, or your neighbours?
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« Reply #3 on: Jan 07, 2009 02:15 AM »


Good to see you back. I'm not sure I understand your question, but reread Jannah's post. It seems pretty clear that people make their own choices (sometimes in spite of religious teachings). Also, one's level of personal faith is only known (or most intimately known) by God (ie, who are we to judge others).

To put it simply, in terms of traditional Islamic teachings, the Qur'aan is revealed to teach us about reality, while the authentic sunnah (traditions of the Prophet) is a means to see how Prophet Muhammad (s) lived those teachings.

To reject all hadiths based on the fact that some are fabricated is kind of like saying, l'm going to reject all books of knowledge because some are actually just fictitious and/or not completely correct and/or made up.

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"My Lord! Increase me in knowledge." (Qur'aan 20.114)
"Our Lord! We believe, so forgive us, and have mercy on us, for You are the Best of all who show mercy!" (23:109)
"And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves..."(3:10)
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