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Understanding Islam through Hadis: Religious Faith or Fanaticism?

Ram Swarup (Author)
Synopsis This work, from a non-Muslim perspective, is based on Sahih Muslim, which has the advantage of being available in an English translation. The subjects that the Hadis treat are multiple and diverse. It gives the Prophet's view of Allah, of the here and the hereafter of hell and heaven, of the Last Day of Judgment, or iman (faith), Salat (prayer), Zakat (poor tax), Sawm (fast), and hajj (Pilgrimage), popularly known as religious subjects; but it also includes his pronouncements on Jihad (holy war), al-anfal , and khums (the holy fifth); as well as on crime and punishment, on food, drink, clothing, and personal decoration, on hunting and sacrifices, on poets and soothsayers, on women and slaves, on gifts, inheritances, and dowries, on toilet, ablution, and bathing; on dreams, christening, and medicine, on vows and oaths and testaments, on images and pictures, on dogs, lizards, and ants. According to some thinkers, fundamentalism is nothing but a search by Muslims for self-identity and self-assertion. It is a weapon of self-defense, derived from the available symbols of their culture against the materialist and bourgeois values of the West. But on calm reflection, it is also something more; it is also their dream of recapturing the grandeur of their old imperial days. Islam is by nature fundamentalist; and this fundamentalism in turn is aggressive in character. Islam claims to have defined human thought and behavior for all time to come; it resists any change, and it feels justified in imposing its beliefs and behavior pattern on other.  Whether this fundamentalism is considered resurgence or reversal and the threat of reappearance of an old imperialism will depend on one's point of view. But anything that throws light on any aspect of the problem will be a great contribution.  This we find the Hadis literature most fitted to do. It gives a living picture of Islam at its source and of Islam in the making, providing an intimate view of the elements that constitute orthodox Islam in their pristine purity. Indeed, it is these very elements of Islam that Muslims find most fascinating and thus motivated by a compulsive atavism, they repeatedly appeal to them and revert to them.
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About the author

Ram Swarup

Ram Swarup(1919-1998) graduated from the University of Delhi in 1941 and had been an original writer and thinker ever since. He participated in his country's struggle for independence, courting imprisonment. For some years, he was a close associate of British-born Mira Behn (Miss Slade), Mahatma Gandhi's adopted daughter. In the fifties he led a movement warning against the growing danger which international communism presented to the newly won freedom of the country. Around 1957, he took to a life of meditation and spiritual reflection, and since then he had made a deep study of the scriptures of different religious traditions. Ram Swarup was a noted writer in many fields. His previous books and brochures include Communism and Peasantry : Implications of Collectivist Agriculture of Asian Countries, Foundations of Maoism, and Buddhism vis-a-vis Hinduism. His Gandhism and Communism stressed the need to raise the struggle against communism from a military to a moral and ideological level. The brochure caught the attention of several US Congressmen, and some of its ideas were adopted by the Eisenhower administration in its agenda for the Geneva Conference in 1955. His Gandhian Economics, small but seminal, shows that the present industrial production system suffers form circularity, a deep internal technological contradiction-coal and iron, and a hundred other commodities symbolized by them, producing and consuming one another in a crescendo, round and round. His magnum opus, The Word As Revelation : Names of Gods, is on Linguistics, Philosophy, Vedic exegesis, and Yoga. It shows how a religion of 'many Gods' represents authentic spirituality.

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Bibliographic information

Title Understanding Islam through Hadis: Religious Faith or Fanaticism?
Author Ram Swarup
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2001
Edition Reprint
Publisher Voice of India
Language: English
isbn 8185990735
length xviii+258p., References; Bibliography; Index.