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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Mutual Exclusivism

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Not too long ago, Walski gave you a sampling of what he sometimes thinks about. For a change, he's not gonna write any thoughts on the happenings politic - enough coverage from the other blogs, and probably better coverage at that.

Well today, we're going to delve in a little deeper into one of the things that Walski's been thinking of a lot of late. And no, it wasn't mentioned in the earlier post, because it deserves more exploration, and its own blog post.

It's about Mutual Exclusivity. More specifically, for a Muslim, mutual exclusivity as it applies to the Quran and the Hadith.

Before Walski confuses you even more, a quick explanation of what being Mutually Exclusive means. Or in this case, what it doesn't mean.

Image hosting by PhotobucketWhere the twain do meet, there be Idiots, or the Deceased...

Say you take the population of Registered Voters (A) and another population of Those Who Purposely Didn't Vote in GE 12 (B). The area of intersection are whom Walski would consider either Idiots or Dead (C). So, in this example A and B are not mutually exclusive..

In logic, two mutually exclusive propositions, as Wikipedia explains it, are propositions that cannot both be true. Kinda like... "UMNO is based on race politics" and "UMNO has a future". Okay, many of you would probably disagree, but you should kinda get the picture by now.

With that out of the way, let's look at this concept as it applies to The Quran and The Hadith. Hang on to your dogma, 'cause this is gonna be a bumpy ride...
(mutual relevance, or mutually exclusive, in the full post)

So, why this post? Well, Walski wants to be challenged, truth be told. So, feel free to rebut any of what is to follow below, and let's get a conversation going.

Ask any Muslim as to the source of where the Quran came from, and without hesitation he or she will tell you that it came from God, revealed through Muhammad. And what does the Quran say about itself? (translation used is from Quran: A Reformist Translation, emphasis by myAsylum)

[Chapter 6: Verse 114] "Shall I seek other than God as a judge when He has sent down to you this book sufficiently detailed?" Those to whom We have given the book know it is sent down from your Lord with truth; so do not be of those who have doubt.

[7:52] We have brought them a book which We have detailed with knowledge; a guide and a mercy to those who acknowledge.

[10:37] This Quran could not have been produced without God, but it is to authenticate what is already present, and to provide detail to the book in which there is no doubt, from the Lord of the worlds.

In other words, the Quran is complete and fully detailed. Traditional/Orthodox/Mainstream Muslims, however, hold that the Quran alone is not enough. Instead (at least the Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah, aka Sunnis), the Quadrinity is upheld: The Quran, The Hadith (and Sunnah), The Companions, and The Classical Jurists. That's one better than the Christians who only have the Trinity.

Now, what does the Quran say about spiritual guidance?

[12:111] In their stories is a lesson for the people of intelligence. It is not a hadith that was invented, but an authentication of what is already present, a detailing of all things, and a guidance and mercy to a people who acknowledge.

[39:23] God has sent down the best hadith, a book that is consistent, relating/contrasting/repeating. The skins of those who reverence their Lord shiver from it, then their skins and their hearts soften up to the remembrance of God. Such is God's guidance; He guides with it whoever He wills. For whomever God misguides, then none can guide him.

[46:6] These are God's signs that We recite to you with truth. So, in which hadith, after God and His signs, do they acknowledge?

[68:44] Therefore, let Me deal with those who reject this hadith (the Quran); We will entice them from where they do not perceive.

So, on the one hand, you have the Quran, which all Muslims, bar none, accept as the true revealed word of God. So when the Quran says that it is complete and should be the only source of guidance, that's God saying that the Quran is complete and should be the only source of guidance.

But if you have, on the other hand, folks that say the Quran alone is not enough, that you need these other sources of guidance mentioned (the remainder of the Quadrinity), aren't you contradicting what the Quran has proclaimed?

In other words, one group says that the Quran alone is enough. The majority of Muslims, forming another group, believe that the Quran alone is not enough. What you have, therefore, is a case of mutual exclusivity, because both propositions CANNOT be true at the same time.

Image hosting by PhotobucketIt's gotta be either one, or the other...

Going a bit further, it also means that one group is right, while the other, naturally must be wrong. Because both groups are mutually exclusive, they cannot both be right. Or wrong. Not at the same time.

"Mainstream" Muslims form the majority, and they believe, based on certain hadiths, that the majority can never go wrong. What does the Quran (hence God) say about following the majority?

[6:116] If you obey the majority of those on earth they will lead you away from God's path; that is because they follow conjecture, and that is because they only guess.

So, are the majority of Muslims actually living life astray from the true calling of God? Walski can't tell you with any certainty, because in the end, God knows all and He knows best.

However, consider this:

[24:55] God promises those among you who acknowledge and do good works, that He will make them successors on earth, as He made successors of those before them, He will enable for them their system which He has approved for them, and He will substitute security for them in place of fear, that they serve Me and do not associate anything with Me. As for those who reject after that, they are the transgressors.

By any measure of plausibility, can we say that the majority of Muslims today are a successful community of humans? Once upon a time the Muslim civilization was one that the rest of the world envied. But not anymore.

So, which mutual exclusivist group do you belong to?