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If you already knew this my apologies for my verbosity

A few years ago I was reading an academic paper about religion in which the authors made the argument that religion is SHAPED BY CULTURE rather than vice versa. We see a perfect example of that going on today in Christianity. These TV preachers have corrupted the philosophy of Jesus and Paul into a apologia for the accrual wealth and power all the while justifying selfishness and greed. That is an example of culture shaping religion.

I suspected, without ANY prior knowledge, that the same is true of Islam. Turns out, like Jesus, Mohammed was quite derelict in making rules on which to build empires or to order society. They were both monotheists whose essential message was love God and be humble in his presence which was every place, along with loving your fellow man as yourself. It's hard to use that thinking as a basis for grand imperialism with all the legal trappings.

Here I what I found about Islam. The Quran took a long time to be shaped as a singular document. Mohammed was illiterate, so his revelations were written down by several followers who didn't have paper. The followers used dried palm fronds, thin stones and animal hides to write upon. These were later collected and what amounted to a committee decided what would be the Quran. Do you think the biases of the collectors may have contributed to the final version?

It gets better. Since Islam was now accepted as the religious belief through much of Arabia, and into N. Africa, rulers wanted to use it as a basis for law. As I said, the Quran doesn't have many rules for a legal system or even how to practice religion. For example the Muslim five prayers a day ritual is not specified in Quran.

So in these early Muslim jurisdictions all they had was an ORAL TRADITION of how the prophet dealt with social situations and legal matters. These oral traditions were codified into something called the Hadith. Hadith reads like this: Mohammed's follower heard the prophet say thus, which was repeated to so-and-so, who was then overheard by such-and-such, through however many oral transactions until it was written down. Not surprisingly, there are numerous versions of Hadith beginning with different Hadith for Sunni and Shia. Moreover, Muslim holy men, have graded the different versions based on what they regard as those having the most veracity to those that are considered heresy.

From all these various Hadith comes Sharia Law. And in Islam you got the same battle between Sharia and secular as you have in the West. In fact in the early days of Islam there was even a popular sect who said that law and social order should be directed by human reason. You can see the problems that created for rulers who wanted a religion that would give them absolute power.

So anyone who condemns all Islam by pointing to one sect as representative of the religion is an idiot or a liar.
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