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A PROPOSAL FOR
THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN OUTLINE OF SYSTEMATIC CATEGORIZATION
FOR CORPUS OF ISLAMIC TEACHINGS
ON THE BASIS OF ORIGINAL AUTHENTIC SOURCES
(AL-QUR’AN & AS-SUNNAH/HADITH)
DEVISED IN LINE WITH QUR’ANIC OWN INTERNAL CLASSIFICATION
AND
INTERNAL CROSS-REFERENCING
AS THE BASIS FOR
FUTURE INTERPRETATION
AND APPLICATION GUIDELINES

BACKGROUND

The observation that leads to the ideas of systematic


codification of original authentic sources of Islamic
teachings :

1. A hadith from Prophet Muhammad s.a.w says : “I leave


you with two things; if you hold fast to them , you will
never go astray, they are Al-Qur'an and As-sunnah”..
However, unfortunately, up to today - as we come to know
it -- there seems to be no single one treatise or
encyclopaedia that systematizes these basic corpuses of
authentic Islamic teachings according to the internal
classification system that one may reveal from the Qur’an
itself.

2. Current disputes on religious matters and unheeded


adoption of alien way of thinking and world-view is the
direct results of no or lacking of comprehension of the
authentic Islamic teachings amongst even the educated
elite amongst Muslims. The cases of Salman Rushdi, Naguib
Mahfoudz, Nasreena, and the statements made by a number of
educated elite on the “out-of-date-ness” of Qur’an that
has always been accused of hampering Muslims to
participate in the so called Modern-industrialized world
-- all of them -- can be accounted to by the fact that the
Muslims themselves have not yet proven and shown to them
all authentic teaching of Islam in a systematic fashion,
even at “the level of ideas”, not to say at pragmatic
level. All Islamic bodies, organizations, universities,
institutions, even the so-called the Higher Learning
Institute for Al-Qur’an, even though founded under

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Islamic banner, has never produced a systematic treatise


that can become the future reference on any aspect of
Islamic teaching in its totality as a holistic way of life.

3.Unavailability of a single source of authentic


materials to study Islam organized in such a way as
facilitating the approach to Islam, has also given rise
for the scholars who are unable to develop a holistic view
on Islam at “the highest abstraction level”. Thus, we see
works on specific aspect of Islam only. Also this mishap
have led them to equate all things Islamic to the socio-
cultural conditions of the people who happen to be
Muslims. Historical approach is also frequently applied,
thus giving analysis of Islam on the basis of past tracks
of their adherents. That approach has led the scholars
mentioned to forward analyses and conclusions that are
blurred by the methodological approach applied, thus
giving birth to distorted pictures of Islam. Never has one
single scholar or ulema or groups of them who recently
have completed that monumental work. (What is available
only a collection of treatises on the Qur’an and
Hadith/As-Sunnah bounded into almost 100 volumes -- as
revealed by Dr. Ahmad Al-Bara’ Al-Amiry, the Professor of
Islamic Sciences at the
King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.)

4. Qur’an states itself to be the “final and eternal


guidance for mankind”, revealed to Prophet Muhammad to
make Muslims to be “a torch bearer to Mankind” , since
they are “the best people ever created”. However, the
current condition of Muslims is maddeningly far away from
that ideal role.

5. Changes are happening faster and faster. They bring


all
Mankind and Ummah to the destination they are not aware
of, some of them even without knowing that they are being
brought away. Mankind seems no longer able to control the
forces of their own creation; on the other hand, mankind
is controlled by those forces, even not knowing what to do
about them, but just to follow wherever those forces take
them. If running un-checked, Mankind is facing an
unprecedented catastrophe for them and this tiny space-
ship called the Earth -- may be their own “qiyamah” in

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their own-made hell here and now. Islam and Muslims


should re-capture their role as “Rahmatan lil ‘Alamiin”,
in anticipation of the 21st Century A.D., to fulfil the
aims of Ummah for re-awakening of Islam, which was
started 15 years ago, at the start of the Fourteenth
Century Hegira.
5. Indonesia as the country with the largest Muslim
population on Earth, living harmoniously with adopters of
other religions under the banner of Panca Sila, has
presented the Istiqlal version of Qur’anic Mushaf to the
whole Muslims in the World and even to Mankind itself.
Now it is time for us, Indonesian Muslims, to complete
our contribution to the Muslim world and Mankind to also
present a systematic codification of the corpus of
authentic Islamic teachings. The materials will become
the base sources for developing contemporary
interpretation that will enable Ummah and Mankind to find
their ways to save the World.

6. This proposal outlines the terms of reference and scope


of works involved, resource requirements, time table,
expected outputs, and the costs that might incur.

Objections that might be faced by this “mad proposal”

1. This will strengthen the primordial feelings amongst


the so-called Muslim intellectuals. This will implant
fanaticism in their minds.
The response should be: Even, without having to be
Muslims, we, as educated segment amongst the earth
pupulation, should trove the treasure of Mankind to find
out any ideas and outlooks that might save the world from
all imminent catastrophes. The corpuses of authentic
Islamic teachings need to be revisited to gain inspiration
for mankind.

2. We are not an Islamic state. Why the State should


approves or even support this ?
The response : This is not going to be financed by the
State. Please remember, Islam is adhered by the majority
of the Indonesian citizens. The Government should take
care of their people.

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3. That effort could only be done by ‘mujtahids” who


possess all the necessary and required skills, knowledge
and wisdom. Why should, a man or a group of men, not
knowing even a single word of Arabic would initiate that
fantastic endeavour?
The response: This is going to be a collective “ijtihad”
amongst those having concern to the predicaments of Ummah
and the imminent catastrophes that may befall Mankind.

4. Are you not going to repeat the same mistakes of some


ulemas who see in Qur’an whatever they want to see? Are
you also not going to be bound by the time and space you
are in approaching the Qur’an?
The response is:
That is exactly why we are enthusiastic to ask Allah’s
guidance to make Qur’an speak to us in its own terms and
definitions. As human beings, we can only pray that Allah
the Beneficent and Merciful will help us in approaching
Qur’an in a clean way. We should approach Qur’an in a
clean (“wudhu”) state, both physically and mentally, which
means free of any pre-conceptions and prejudices. Let Al-
Qur’an speaks to us in its own language (therefore, we
will refer to the linguistic meanings of the words as they
were used during the time of the Prophet.)
Being here and now at the end of 20th Century world will
help us, since we have the advantages of cumulative
collective experience of Mankind for at least 15 hundred
years after Qur’an’s revelation that will help us in
interpreting the Qur’an with better and sharper
“analytical tools”.

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TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR


THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN OUTLINE OF SYSTEMATIC CATEGORIZATION
FOR AUTHENTIC CORPUS OF ISLAMIC TEACHINGS

THE PROPOSAL

This recommends developing an outline of systematic


categorization for corpus of Islamic teachings both at the
original language of the Qur’an, i.e. Arabic, and the
Indonesian and English equivalent.

BASIC DEFINITIONS OF KEY TERMS

Authentic corpus of Islamic teachings

1. The Kor’an (Al-Qur’an)


2. Al-Sunnah as codified by the Six ‘Imaamul Hadiith’

a. Bukhari
b. Muslim
c. Abu Dawud
d. Ibnu Majaah
e. Tirmidzhi
f. Ibnu Hambal

Systematic categorization

Qur’an has its own internal structure as reflected by its


coherence. (“You will find no mismatches amongst its
ayahs”). There seem to a number of different levels of

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structure or layers of meanings. Also we can observe


different levels of resolutions to any matters discussed.

Qur’an can be viewed as “linguistic representation of


Reality” (“tafshiila li kulli sya’iin”). Qur’an, Muslims
believe, should be the only linguistic representation
that has “one-to-one relationships” with Reality.
Obviously, there are a number of different levels of
resolutions in its relationship with Reality.

At the Qur’anic level, different linguistic units operate:

1. Words ( = kalaam)
2. Ayah (= verse)
3. Paragraphs (= parts of raka’)
4. Stories (“qashshas”)/exposition
5. Suraah

Since we are interested to categorize the basic ideas and


major themes of the Qur’an, we can name Qur’an as “and
interconnected string of ideas and themes”, the
categorization should start with the words, some of which
have been given certain meanings by the Qur’an itself
( i.e. it has gained the status of “terms”, like
“muttaqiin”, “eeman”, etc.), up to higher constructs, like
the ayah( =sentence), paragraphs(parts of raka’) and
stories and exposition.

The analytical process looks as follows:

Words -> Terms -> Constructs -> Themes ->


Aspects of the teachings-> Holistic System of Life
& Holistic World View

The constructions of Qur’anic verses, paragraphs, rakaa’


and qashshash will reveal the relationships of the ideas
at each level. This is the objective of the searching
effort.

LAYERS OF CONSTRUCTS TO BE ANALYZED.

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1. Qur’an as it is now arranged according to Mushaf


Ustmani. Cross-referencing will be created at different
levels of linguistic units.

2. Qur’an arranged according to the sequence of revelation


to see development of certain topics, and “nasakh” and
“mansukh”). Cross referencing will be tried with regards
to “asbaabun nuzul” (the reasons behind revelation)

3 “Asbabuun nuzuul” that will be linked to related


Qur’anic verses on sequential basis.

4. Hadith of the six “Imaamul Haadith” to be linked to


each relevant ayat or topic in the Qur’an . This will
create a cross-reference amongst each verse and topics.
referenced with each and every “hadith shaheeh” from the
six Imaam.

5. Historical account of the situation in Mecca or Medina


at the particular time should also be linked to each
ayah and/ or topic. World historical background should
also be linked to each and every relevant ayat and
paragraph/ topic.

How are we going to do about it?

This huge job could only be done at the help of computer.


The database programmes that have the ability of storing
and retrieval of Arabic words as well as Latin words
should be developed.

The software should have the capability of working with


both English and Arabic instructions. There should be
able to work with quite huge data base.

What are the expected outputs of these efforts ?

The basic outputs

The basic output should be a relational


linguistic/language data base consisting of the corpus of

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authentic Islamic teachings that is accessible through


different levels of “ideational strata”.

This can be stored onto CD ROMs that are saleable to the


public.

Intermediate outputs

A translation of Qur’an with foot-notes and side-notes


attached to each ayat cross-referencing each one with the
others.

A systematic index of Al-Qur’an


A systematic encyclopaedia of Islamic teachings.