[ Part One: Important Warning ] [ Part Two: Asking The First Questions ] [ Part Three: First Examined Hadiths ] [ Part Four: The Question of Generations, Another Hint ]
Addendum – Can Jesus, the Mahdi and the dajjal surpass or even match The Avengers?
Manipulation of Prophecy The Future and YOU
[Part 1: Past Ummahs and Our Delusions – Part 2:Contrasting Present and Past – Part 3:The Trap and Background Music – Part 4:Miracles in the Seemingly un-Miraculous – Part 5:Conclusion, Crux and Solution]
Peace be upon those who seek peace. Thank you for and welcome back. When we last left you, we first considered the important question of the length of a generation given the complexities of the intermixing of young and old within the same chronological stage and the fact established that the stages we consider cannot overlap and have to represent a definite value. After allowing you time to consider different scenarios, we have posted, in episode four of this series, two variants of a hadith that answers the very question we have been considering.
We should note first that we are dealing with communities such as clans, tribes, and nations. Our purpose was to arrive at a divinely mandated time-scale by which to count the ages of human communities. Each such community, a People in the proper sense, will always possess individual exceptions to a given rule. But we are ruling out exceptional thinking and are not concerned with the fact that many die in infancy, while others still survive to become octogenarians. Here, we examine broad generalities, from which the general rule is derived and to which it applies.
Whatever genealogical period we consider, it must include the time for one generation to be born, grow into maturity, and at the very least sire children if nor raise them. Your first answer may perhaps have been: 20 years. However, a 20-year time-frame does not allow the begetting of a full new generation. All you would have after 20 years would be a statistically small number of individuals of the new generation. Not enough for replacement of the previous generation. And that is not a full generation, let alone a community.
Therefore, from a purely numerical perspective, we would need at around 30 years to simply replace the numbers of the old generation.
Most analysis and arguments about this issue stop at the numerical stage. However, the Islamic reasoning adds a crucial dimension to this: A community is more than the sum if the genes of its members. To generate a new generation from an old one, the memes must also be transmitted. And this can only be done through upbringing and education which occur from the years of infancy to the age of post-pubescence. This argument clearly lengthens our generation into the late thirties all the way to 40.
Granted, our analysis here is a qualitative one. However, the outline and premises of a a fully quantitative proof should be well-understood by now.
Accountability is a concept of central concern. In Islam this concept is called Takleef, literally the word pertains to the duties one bears. There is a definite age upon which a person becomes accountable for their actions and liable for the duties of adulthood, such a person is a Mukallaf. Such a one is legally and morally fully responsible and accountable for all of their conscious and sane actions. This does not occur until puberty and adolescence, which typically begins from roughly 13 to 16 years of age. From this perspective ending a generation at age 20 is not enough time.
When does the accountability of a previous generation end? The obvious answer to this is at Death. You may raise the objection that Death tends to happen, on average, at different times for different communities. For example, in ancient times among some barbarian nations, life expectancy may only have been in the 30′s to mid 40’s, due both to rigors of life, as well as the lack of hygiene and medicine found among the civilized, best illustrated in the millennial golden age of Islam from the seventh century to the seventeenth. In more civilized early communities, life expectancies may have ranged from 50’s to even the 70’s. In a few modern communities, life expectancy could range even into the 80’s.
Weigh this, and examine the two previously posted hadiths. More will be presented soon, by Allah’s leave.