The Prophet Muhammad: Faith Sensitive And Critical Approach Appraisals

2593 words - 10 pages

Over the years there have been numerous biographies written about The Prophet Muhammad which have been open to questions, scrutiny and debates. This is due to different approaches and perspectives held by different people. The main two approaches are Emic (insider’s points of view) and Etic (outsider’s point of view), where Emic is ‘faith sensitive’ and Etic is a ‘critical approach’ as described by Clinton Bennett. In this essay, I will discuss Bennett’s theory of the faith sensitive and critical approach when studying religion. Thereafter I am going to explore the debates set out by Emic and Etic sources and what they say about the biographies written about The Prophet Muhammad. The key aim is to concentrate on two critical areas set out by Sharifi and Khan, which have been up for debate in relation to academic studies on The Prophet Muhammad. These arguments will be analysed and explained through the use of western biographies with good and bad practise taken into consideration. Studying a combination of Bennett's theory and the theory of phenomenology will provide an understanding on whether there is a way of studying religion without debating. Additionally, it will also demonstrate hoe religion has been studied over the years as well as find a way where religion can be studied by means of both approaches.
Firstly, we will look at Bennett's theory and what he means when talking about Faith sensitive and critical approach when studying religion. Bennett's theory suggests that in order to study religions one has to have a look at religion for example in this essay how to study the religion of Islam so, he says to look at Islam from more than an insider’s approach but also other critical approaches must be focused on a lot more. This is because Bennett states in his book Understanding Islam the Critical Issues “if Religious Studies is to live up to its claim to be a social science, it cannot afford to ignore other approaches and critical issues, even if these are less faith sensitive. Otherwise, it must resign itself to merely describing what believers themselves hold to be true”. (Bennett, 2010.pxxii [preface]). This expresses the issue of why religion should be questioned, scrutinised and debated as well as why it is necessary to go further than just the insider view. This is to gain a better understanding of the religion and to comprehend why certain beliefs and practises take place. Even though all religions ought to be respected, the matter of respect should not even come into the equation when it comes down to critical analysis. As a social science there should be a basis that all religions should be critically analysed so there is no room for biased opinions. The question is why does Bennett put this theory forward? What is the main problem with the insider view? He believes that they are not critical of their own religion and do not ask questions that need to be asked. An insider cannot be critical of their own faith because they are...

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