Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law by Ignáz Goldziher

By Ignáz Goldziher

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At the beginning of his prophetic career somber apocalyptic images had dominated his soul and message. These yielded to vigorous worldly aspirations which became dominant during the course of his successes. Thus historical Islam was stamped with the character of a combative religion, in contrast to the early years when there could be no envisioning a lasting polity in a world doomed to destruction. Muhammad left his immediate achievements within his Arabian sphere as a testament for the future ofhis community: to fight the unbelievers, to extend not so practice maier to my benefit, and do not practice makr to my harm," wa-mltur li wa-la tamltur 'alayya.

Such imitation is, indeed, the principle of all sunna. The theologians' picture of the Prophet's life assumes that the Prophet had himself held the view that every minute detail of his conduct in matters of religious practice would be regarded as sunM for the future. For this reason he once abstained from a certain action, lest the believers make it into sunna (Ibn Sa'd, II, i, 131:19). It is only natural that Muhammad soon came to be regarded as an ethical model as well. On this there is an extensive literature.

It did away with all the barbarous abominations in the cult and society of the pagan Arabs, in their tribal life, in their world view. It put an end to the jahiliya, "barbarism,,, as the Qur'an calls pagan, as opposed to Islamic, ways. On the other hand, the Prophet's doctrines and institutions were, as we have seen, of an eclectic character. Judaism and Christianity furnished constituent elements in equal measure. I cannot now discuss these in detai1. 12 It is well known that there are five points that in their 11 Cf.

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