May 1988: Page 1, 2, 3, 4

Submitters Perspective

Page 3


The Hadith Debate

Continued from page 2

anti-women, apart from being anti-Quran. These constitute a perfect prescription for disunity and backwardness. Of course, detailed data should now be collected to fully demonstrate and prove the destructiveness of the Hadith ideological to the Muslims. This, however, was not the aim of my book.

In spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, many Muslims are still

unable to disassociate Prophet Muhammad from the Hadith. But this is precisely the first important hurdle to clear before one can get any rational understanding of the Hadith. The classical formula is: “Bukhari (or the other compilers) reports from A, who heard from B, who heard from C, who heard from D, who heard from E, who heard from F, who heard from the prophet.” It is a report of an alleged saying or doing of the prophet across six to eight generations. At the time of the compilation (between 200 and 400 years after the prophet) the first

few generations of alleged reporters were no more and there were no sure means of determining the truth of those reports directly. Even the traditionalists admit that the bulk of the report is hearsay. Such being the case, it is astonishing that the consensus of traditionalist theologians has required Muslims to believe in it, and has pronounced those who disbelieve in it to be outside the fold of Islam!

[To be continued in the coming issues]


by Steve A. Johnson

Closer to me than my jugular vein? Then He knew. He knew when joy slipped into routine into hatred, Why  didn’t He just flick my heart, ever so lightly – a reassurance, a hope filled nudge? But He didn’t, and even hatred slipped away. Then came the tears of pleading, “Please let me feel.” But the answer? Silence. Always the same “please”, the same questions, the same remnants of hope; but the same answer – Silence. The tears stopped.

Everyone walks through the desert,” the wise – feigning, saint – feigning Muslim sheikh said. He didn’t understand. It was not the desert I feared. Deserts can have blue sky surrounding the cruel sun, they have shifting sands, days and nights, skittering creatures – life. I don’t fear the desert, only the absence of desert; the absence of feeling – spiritual death.


He knew when the prayer was followed by sighs and quiet stares through cold window glass into …onto streets chaotic with twilight traffic. He was there when I played my role – Mr. Muslim lecturing to the lost lonely miserable unbelievers – a paid savior amid the “ma sha’Allah’s” and “Allahu Akbar’s”. Why always the silence inside, placing silent judgment on the different me’s?

He felt and knew before I forced my smile, a handshake, a word of praise. So what was He teaching me? What was I to see? What insight? What meaning?

He was closer to that the pulsing vein the moment I whispered, “NO”, “NO MORE.” No more. My God is not of ossified rules separating men from women, believers in this from believers in that. My God does not sit

sternly denouncing the goodness outside the barbed wire of Islamic law, or condemning love that bursts into music and festivity.

He felt the joy in me, in Him when after the “NO” I said “YES” to the mysterious Real beyond theology, beyond hadith, cosmic light and hope years past ritual.

He sustained the me that did not leave a truth, but who now embraces The Truth that cannot be enshrined in Arabic. No, it is The Truth that dances on the languages of wordless faith.

Closer than my jugular vein? He knew and felt it all. He gave the permission, and shared in the journey. It cannot be wrong or evil because life cannot be wrong or evil. If He is closer to me than me, then it was all His and it was good.

Virginia Kamouneh

[Cont’d from page 4]

He is comfortable, at – home – with – his- feet- propped- up – on – the – coffee – table, with self – correction – and  I think I know his secret. It’s no secret, really - it’s  simply Quran. “Yeah,” he’d probably say with a sly smiling twinkle, “Simply Qur’an. Just the Word of God.” Well, you get the point. His platform is indeed constructed entirely on Qur’an, a fact which is gently evident in conversation with him. Unlike so many self-styled “scholars” and ignorant “alims,” his incessant reference to Qur’an is truly spontaneous, uncontrived – and uncluttered by fishy fish stories and fatuous fatwas.


Since my “association” with him (it sounds like we’ve been discovered in a love nest with Shaikh Rattle ‘n Roll and Jimmy Swaggert in ISNA HQ and let’s see how long its takes for that to hit the rumor mill!), I have been asked by countless individuals, “Do you know what Rashad Khalifa is all about?” They have heard, they confide in hushed tones, that he is a spy for the Qadiyanis, a  Baha’i, a Mason, Jello Biafra’s podiatrist… No, they’ve never actually met him, they confess; no  they haven’t actually read his work, but they’ve heard from someone whose second cousin heard from someone that –

But Dr. Khalifa remains unfazed by these rumors; in fact, he seems

genuinely amused by them. He says that these tales have actually been instructional, that he’s learned most of what he knows about these sects from the “Islamic” tabloids, the National Expirers of the Muslim world, that broadcast them.

Yes, I do know what Rashad Khalifa is all about, or at least, I think I’m beginning to; I only wish that they did. All they would have to do to find out is to pick up a Qur’an.

“They want to put out God’s light with their mouths, but God insists upon perfecting. His light…” (9:32) God insists. And that’s what Rashad Khalifa, this gentle, twinkling #19 man in Arizona is all about.