“Moderate Islam” & Muslim American Leadership: Reflections Before the Deluge

Is it just me, or is being a Muslim in the US a rollercoaster ride?  There’s so much to discuss! Top on the list is, of course, the imminent Trump administration. Like many in this country, since November 9th I’ve alternated between stupefaction, acute anxiety and invigoration for the… interactions (?) to come. This is an…

The Rules of Matn Criticism: There are No Rules

In an effort to avoid the subjectivity of individual reason, Sunni Islam elaborated a method of ḥadīth criticism that subordinated evaluating the meaning of a report to an examination of its chain of transmission. With the fourth/tenth-century epistemological compromise of Ashʿarism, however, Sunni ḥadīth scholars adopted rationalist criteria of content criticism that included explicit rules…

Faithful Dissenters: Sunni Skepticism about the Miracles of Saints

Faithful Dissenters – Sunni Skepticism about the Miracles of Saints Belief in the miracles of saints (karāmāt al-awliyāʾ) is a requirement in Sunni Islam. Challenges to this position are generally seen as limited to Islamic modernists effected by Western historical criticism. This article demonstrates that there have actually been leading Sunni Muslim scholars from the…

The Canonization of Ibn Mâjah: Authenticity vs. Utility in the Formation of the Sunni Ḥadîth Cano

Summary:   In Sunni Islam, the canonical ‘Six Books’ of hadith derive their authority as doctrinal references from scholarly consensus on their reliability as representations of the Prophet’s Sunna. One of the Six Boooks, the Sunan of Ibn Majah, however, presents a bizarre exception. Although it has been considered part of the Six Book collection…