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The People of the Sunnah. HIST 1007 10/2/13. What is Islam?. What is Islam?. God Everything else. Islam during the Time of the Prophet. Is there even anything called Islam? The Believers Movement Umma – Muhajirun , ansar , “converts,” allies, and tribal chiefs

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the people of the sunnah

The People of the Sunnah

HIST 1007


what is islam1
What is Islam?


Everything else

islam during the time of the prophet
Islam during the Time of the Prophet
  • Is there even anything called Islam?
  • The Believers Movement
  • Umma – Muhajirun, ansar, “converts,” allies, and tribal chiefs
  • Accept the Qur’an as revelation, Muhammad as

the messenger of God,

and the umma as

the community of true


after the prophet
After the Prophet
  • Sahaba – Companions of

the Prophet

  • Tabi`un – Muslims of the

generation after

Muhammad’s death

  • Qurra’ – Teachers of the


  • Not formal institutions
  • Teaching of Islam by those

considered knowledgeable.

al-BaqiCemetary, Medina, before and after

destruction by Wahhabists and Saudi government

in 1925

do you need to define islam
Do you need to define Islam?
  • Conquest and expansion
  • Political debates (Kharijis and Shi’ites)
  • Connection with other traditions
    • Jewish (isra’iliyyat)
    • Christian (Syriac)
    • Zoroastrian
    • Hellenistic
    • Persian
    • Arabian
kalam theology
Kalam- Theology
  • Kharijites (657-present) – Anyone who fails to follow God’s command is not a true Muslim. Free will.
  • Qadaris (late 7th – early 9th centuries) – An unrighteous ruler should abdicate or be deposed. Free will.
  • Mu`tazilis (8th-10th centuries) – Sinful Muslims are neither true Muslims nor non-believers. Rationalists.
  • Murji`a – Anyone who professes to be a Muslim is a Muslim. Supporters of non-Arab converts.
  • Free will, predestination, and God’s attributes
  • Mu`tazili – God is unique, uncreated, and his attributes are neither physical nor literal.
  • Qur’an is created, not part of God’s essence like Christian Logos.
  • Men have free will, God does

not create evil deeds nor punish

for predestined deeds.

Symbol of neo-Mu`tazilites

mu tazilites

1. Tawhid – Unity of God

2. `Adl – God is just

3. Reward and punishment

belong in the afterlife.

  • A sinner is neither a true

Muslim nor an apostate.

5. Muslims are responsible for promoting the good and suppressing evil.

ahl al hadith
Ahl al-hadith
  • Traditionists
  • God cannot be known by reason, only by revelation.
  • Qur’an and example of Prophet Muhammad as found in hadith.
  • God’s attributes must be real!
  • God is absolutely omnipotent and inscrutable.
  • All actions are the result of God.
abu al hasan al ash ari d 936
Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`ari (d. 936)
  • A happy medium…
  • Theological tenets derived from tradition can be supported by rational arguments.
  • The Qur’an exists in the divine essence…
  • But in the form of letters and words it is created…
  • al-Maturidi (d. 944): You can know God through reason, not just revelation.

Mu`tazilite – understand through reason

Traditionists – understand through revelation

- the Qur’an is uncreated

Mu`tazilite – people have free will

- the Qur’an is created

Traditionists – God is all powerful


Ash`arites – Can be understood through revelation and explained through reason.

- essence of the Qur’an

Ash`arites – the precise letters and words of the Qur’an are created

why would the caliph care
Why would the Caliph Care?
  • Mihna: Inquisition begun by al-Ma’mun in 833
  • Supports Mu`tazilite opinion
  • Tries to ban traditionalists from holding office
  • Is the Qur’an created or uncreated?
  • Ahmad b. Hanbal(780-855): Leading hadith scholar of Baghdad, critical of `Abbasid excess
  • Caliphs unable to enforce theological stances
  • Islamic jurisprudence
  • Largely built on older traditions in dialogue with Qur’an and hadith
  • Qadi: Judge, by late 8th

century, only `ulama’

  • Mufti: Legal authority
  • Ra’y: Personal

judgment of a qadi

  • Ra’y can set precedent
schools of law
Schools of Law
  • Regional study circles
  • Mecca, Medina, Kufa, Basra, Baghdad, and Fustat
  • Sharing teachings of notable scholars creates legal networks
  • As circles become more focused, they become legal schools with defined views and curriculum
  • Madhhab: School of Law
  • Hanafis: First legal school
    • based in Kufa and Basra on the

teachings of Abu Hanifa (d. 767)

    • Established precedents, ra’y,

and Islamic norms

schools of law1
Schools of Law
  • Maliki: legal tradition of Medina
    • Malik b. Anas (d. 795), Muwatta’
    • Qur’an, example of the Prophet (sunna), judgment of the sahaba, and traditions of Medina
  • Shafi`i:
    • Abu `Abdullah

al-Shafi`I (767-820)

    • Qur’an, sunna,

consensus (ijtima’), and

analogy (qiyas)

growing importance of qur an and hadith
Growing Importance of Qur’an and Hadith
  • Hanafis: law based on precedent and legal judgments
  • Malikis: traditions of the sahaba and people of Medina along with Qur’an and hadith
  • Shafi`i: consensus and analogy in interpreting the Qur’an and hadith
  • Hanbalis: Qur’an and hadith only, rejection of consensus and analogy
hadith collections
Hadith Collections
  • SahihBukhari, Muhammad al-Bukhari (d. 870)
  • Sahih Muslim, Muslim b. al-Hajjaj (d. 875)
  • Sunan al-Sughra, al-Nasa`I (d. 915)
  • Sunan Abu Dawood, Abu Dawood (d. 888)
  • Jami al-Tirmidhi, al-Tirmidhi (d. 892)
  • SunanibnMajah, IbnMajah (d. 887)
  • All six collections of sound

hadith were collected by


Tomb of al-Bukhari in Samarqand, Uzbekistan