"Some people are trying to drag Morocco down into a swamp, suppressing a whole range of freedoms. But it wonʹt work. Morocco chose its path a long time ago and there is no way back... especially with the 2011 Constitution, which was a huge victory for Moroccans."

Repression or "spiritual security"?

Political researcher Marwan bin Fares sees "spiritual security" not as a scientific concept, but rather a term that is used to serve the state's religious and political interests. According to bin Fares, the definition of spiritual security in Morocco is ambiguous. "It has been used in the context of maintaining social order while dealing with religious minorities such as Shias, Kharijites and Christians, among others. It also is used by institutions such as the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs, the Mohammadia League of Scholars, as well as institutions affiliated to the state that tow the official line."

Meanwhile, Amazigh writer Ahmed Assid believes that "spiritual security" does not refer to the safety of all Moroccans, but only some of them: the Sunni Muslims.

First page of the Sahih al-Bukhari, Bulaq edition (1893-94) with margin annotations by Al-Yunini (photo: Wikipedia)
"The worst crime of the hadith is that it causes Muslims to abandon the book of Allah, replacing it with a doctrine and work of reference for faith and worship," says Aylal. "We will end up with a different religion based on the hadith, which has nothing to do with the Koran except for formalities"

Sunni Islam, he continued, is the official religion of the state that is protected by the term spiritual security, which at the same time persecutes other Muslim sects, as well as different religions and ethnicities. Assid said this violates freedom of belief, among other freedoms acknowledged by the constitution.

"Mythological legends"

The introduction to the 283-page book, which was published by Dar Al-Watan, describes many legends and stories cited by Sahih Al-Bukhari as "mythological", claiming that not even the Salafists are unanimous in upholding them.

The book consists of five chapters featuring a variety of research that delves into contentious issues. "My work tackles the religious heritage and the real status of Al-Bukhari," Aylal explains. "The Prophet prohibited the documentation of hadith through the narration of Al-Darimi, the sheikh of Al-Bukhari. The Prophet said, 'Do not write anything about me except what is in the Koran and whoever has written something about me shall erase it'. Even Umar bin Khattab burned a writing surface that had borne sayings attributed to the holy Prophet."

"Why was documentation of the Sunnah delayed for around 100 years after the death of the Prophet, peace be upon him, if they are as significant to the Sharia as Salafist sheikhs and others argue?"

Aylal claims that Salafists do not regard the Sunnah as detailed interpretations of the Koran, but rather as a doctrinal source that overrules the Muslim holy book. Theoretically speaking, they are the second source of Sharia after the Koran, yet practically they are undisputedly the prime Sharia source for Salafists, while the Koran is merely perceived as a complementary work.

Aylal wonders whether "we are dealing directly with the sayings of the Prophet, or with narrators' interpretations of what the Prophet said", reminding us in the process that the mental and intellectual abilities of each narrator differed.

Nothing to do with the Koran

"The worst crime of the hadith is that it causes Muslims to abandon the book of Allah, replacing it with a doctrine and work of reference for faith and worship," says Aylal. "We will end up with a different religion based on the hadith, which has nothing to do with the Koran except for formalities."

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Comments for this article: Rocking the foundations of Islam

The title is ridiculous. Yes, it is reductionist to say that one man, the narrator Bukhari, means Islam. It is also reductionist to imply, through the title of the article, that a book refuting al-Bukhari rocks the foundations of "Islam". It seems that the writer has a narrow definition of what "Islam". Islam as history, social norms, psychological sets, belief, way of life, unity and contradiction, multitudes (from Dakar to Bali). I think before making such a statement, the writer should have listed the "foundations of Islam".

Anonymous16.06.2018 | 21:20 Uhr