Muslim Essay, Research Paper
Religious Studies 123
Both Peters and Dashti make some drastic theoretical presuppositions and assumptions in their writings. First of all, and most importantly, they assume most of the stories that supposedly took place during Muhammad?s life as true. This seems very important to me. The stories of events that involved Muhammad are mostly gathered through word of mouth or a ?chain of transmission? and through Muhammad?s own writings. Though I believe most of the stories about the life of Muhammad to be factual, I also know that word of mouth is not the most reliable source in this day and age, and the truth could be just as easily warped in the time of Muhammad. The authors also make the assumption that people?s way of thinking in the time of Muhammad were similar to ours. What I mean by that is that stories which we heard about Muhammad were the stories that seemed important to the people of that time. We may have placed a great deal of emphasis on aspects of Muhammad?s life that never even crossed the people of his times mind. Therefore, many stories which may have been important in our assessment of Muhammad are unknown. These assumptions may seem fairly simple and obvious, but they do have some very complex implications. After all, these assumptions are made in all stories we here, about Muhammad or anything else for that matter.
Obviously, since I believe that the authors have made these assumptions, I also believe that the writings we are presented are slanted. I do not believe, however that they have been unduly slanted. The arguments and presuppositions that the authors make are sound and fair. Without these presuppositions, we wouldn?t be able to tell stories about anything or anybody even about people from our own time era. Authors need to make assumptions such as these to find the truth about things. Without authors making assumptions, we couldn?t say much about anything for fear that our entire way of thinking is wrong. Different authors making different assumptions brings us closer to the truth by giving us different ways of looking at things.
In writing assignment number two, the way I described the two authors? methodology and goals ties in very much with the statements I have already made about their assumptions. I stated that Peters? goal was to basically trace the life of Muhammad. The two problems with this that he ran into were removing the pious way Muhammad is regarded and the source materials. This is basically what I?ve been saying in a nutshell. I believe that Peters has met his goals in writing his biography. By merely acknowledging that he has made these assumptions, he has gotten rid of there negative value to his writings. I also believe that Dashti has, for the most part, succeeded in what I defined as his methodology though he doesn?t admit to these assumptions. He tries to talk more about the values and difficulties that the Muslim world has presented. The only part that he may falter on is using stories as evidence without realizing these assumptions that he made.
Yes, assumptions that we make can sometime bring us to a very wrong answer, but these assumptions still need to be made. They need to be made because we must always try to find the truth about things and having differing opinions is a great aid in this struggle.