Sunday, November 21, 2004

Memorizing Power of Muhafizs & Muhaddiths

Among the greatest strength that was touted about Muslim's scriptural authenticity is the fact that throughout time, numerous people have memorized the Quran back to back, and also the hadiths complete with the sanad (i.e. the source references) traceable back to the actual person who heard the Prophet (s.a.w.) saying it.

What I learn from my Psychology class, however, is that human memory is very fallible. They tend to subconsciously reconstruct past event according to their whims/beliefs. A racist witness will testify the gun being in the hands of the black person, when reality was otherwise (this was a case fact). They are also open to suggestive/leading questions, e.g. after witnessing a car crash incident, when asked which car disregarded the stop sign, the subject would point to one of them, when in fact there was NO stop sign present at all in the first place. Upon recounting the event as well, their vivid descriptions include details of shattered glass all over, blood spatters, when in fact the collision was actually a clean one etc etc (These instances were quoted from my readings of the Psychology text, to the best of my memory, which, hehheh, itself is not so reliable, no?)

So who has a better case here? Were all the Hadith & Quran propagators were very much fallible then?

I don't have evidence that they are, but I DO know two instances of the opposite case, to quote faithfully from Khalid Baig's book "First Thing First":

1) "Prominent scholar Dr. Hamidullah tells of an effort in Germany by the Christian scholars to gather all the Greek manuscripts of Bible as the original Bible in Aramaic is extinct. They gathered all manuscripts in the world and after examining them reported: "Some two hundred thousand contradictory narrations have been found... of these one-eight are of an important nature." When the report was published, some people established an Institute for Qur'anic Research in Munich with the goal of examining the Qur'an the same way. A gigantic research project was started that continued for three generations. By 1933, 43,000 photocopies of Qur'anic manuscripts had been collected. A report published shortly before World War II showed the results of the examination of these manuscripts. While some minor mistakes of calligraphy were found, not a single discrepancy in the text had been discovered!"
(Khalid Baig, "First Things First", p.59-60)

2) [Regarding hadith manuscripts:] "... One manuscript from the first century was discovered in this century and published by Dr. Hamidullah. It is Sahifa Hammam ibn Munabbah, who was a disciple of Abu Hurairah r.a.. It contains 138 ahadith. Muhaddithin knew that the ahadith of this Sahifa had been absorbed [i.e. integrated] into Musnad Ahmed and Muslim collections, which have been published continuously since their third century debut. After the discovery of the original manuscript it was naturally compared with the ahadith in Muslim and Musnad Ahmed that were thought to have come from that Sahifa. And what did they find? There was not an iota of difference between the two. Similarly Mussanaf of Abd al-Razzaq is extant and has been published. As has been Mu'ammar ibn Rashid's al-Jami. The recent appearance of these manuscripts should bring the most skeptical into the fold of believers."
(Khalid Baig, "First Things First", p.44)

Perhaps, when those psychologists conducted their memory-fallibility experiment, they just took normal people as subjects. If they also try out their tests against the muhafizs & muhaddiths, they might get an altogetherly different result...

2 Comments:

Blogger asbah said...

your right chemex... muhaffizun and muhattihin are very powerful in memorization.. as long as the took it seroiusly not to forget what they already memorized

8:47 PM, November 21, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

they have powerful brains. i wish i could be just like them. but it's not only the brain that matters - it's the qalb. the heart need to be clean and clear. of course, as a human being, we always make mistakes. but we must always remember to repent every time we make mistakes....

5:08 PM, December 16, 2004  

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