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Islam in its infancy, under a magnifying glass

kpr37Sep 18, 2018, 7:37:02 PM

 Everyone (the politically correct at least) seems to take for granted, unquestionably, as a matter of "faith" that everything that Muslims claim to remember, and have recorded, about the origin and history of the compilation of the Quran is true. If you, are cynical and drop those "progressive" assumptions, one can observe the facts readily available in a new light. They tell a story of a distinctly different historical reality.

The names of some biblical figures in the Quran are Syriac Aramaic in origin.


The proper names of biblical personages found in the Qur'an are used in their Syriac form. Such names include those of Solomon, Pharaoh, Isaac, Ishmael, Israel, Jacob, Noah, Zachariah, and Mary.


As is the word Quran itself, it is taken from Qiryan. Meaning scripture or recitation.


The best study of Syriac Aramaic words in the Quran was done by "Christoph Luxenberg" a "non de plume" as the subject is dangerous. Just ask Salman Rushdie, how books that cast the faith of Islam in a poor light, are likely to be received.


Here is how modern Muslims explain away what I just wrote.

The phrase, "the gates of heaven shall not be opened to them" is a rendering of Arabic la tufattah lahum abwab al-sama', a wording that is reminiscent of the Syriac phrase used in the scene of Jesus' baptism: "suddenly the heavens were opened up for him," etptahu leh shmaya (Matthew 3:16). The syntax of the two verses is consistent as well:

Verb to open (etpta?u) or not to open (la tufatta?) +

preposition l with pronominal suffix (leh; lahum) +

the heavens (shmaya) or its doorways (abwab al-sama').Meanwhile, the phrase "nor shall they enter Paradise until the camel passes through the eye of the needle" (Arabic: wa la yadkhulun al-jannah hatta yalij al-jamal fi samm al-khiyat) is related to the well-known Gospel metaphor. What is particularly noteworthy, however, is the intimate relationship between the Qurʿanic Arabic and the Syriac version of this metaphor: dlil hu l-gamla l-me'al ba-hrura da-mhata aw 'atira d-ne'ul l-malkuta d-alaha ("It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God"; Matthew 19:24; cf. Mark 10:25; Luke 18:25). The Gospel reference to the "rich man" (atira) is embodied in the opening of Q 7:40 as "those that cry lies to Our signs and wax proud against them." Finally the Arabic word used in this passage for Paradise, jannah, is linguistically related to Syriac gannta ("garden"), and the Arabic word used for Hell/Gehenna, jahannam, is the biblical ge-hinnom ("Valley of Hinnom").

Tellingly, the linguistic relationships shared by the Arabic and Syriac passages do not suggest any sort of linear influence. These relationships reflect, rather, the dogmatic claim found in Q 25:33, namely that the Qurʿan articulates (biblical) parables in a manner claimed to be more truthful and more accurate...


John Of Damascus was one of the first non-Muslims to write about the new religion developing around him, he was perfectly placed to be in the know.

He was born John Monsur, into a wealthy Arab-Christian family of Damascus. Like his father, he held a position high in the court of the caliph.


Content of the Heresy of the Ishmaelites (page 8)

Origins of the Saracen religion In his treatise, The Heresy of the Ishmaelites , John of Damascus refers to the “ coercive religion of the Ishmaelites,” which is the “forerunner of the Antichrist.”  Having used strong words in his description of the religion of the Ishmaelites, it is curious that John refers to them as a “heresy” of Christianity rather than a false religion. For John, Christianity is seen as the truth and the standard by which all other religions or cults should be judged. Whenever a religion proclaims something that is contrary to the Bible or a distortion of its truth, it is then deemed to be “heretical.”  We also need to remember that at that time there were no references to a universal religion called Islam, but rather that the conquering people group, referred to as Ishmaelites, Saracens or Hagarenes, espoused beliefs and traditions that seemed to be distorted extractions from the two major religions in the area, Judaism and Christianity. It may be that during the first half of the 8th century the religion that was to become Islam was still in its formative process, and the rules, the traditions and the Qur’ān may still have been developing as the Arabs absorbed more and more land, money and power. Thus, Islam was not very distinct from Christianity in the time of John of Damascus and it is only in the latter half of the 8th century, when the earliest biographies on Muhammad were being written and the first hadiths  were being penned, that the finalization of the Qur’ān was also taking place and the distinctions were becoming sharper and more defined, both in a theological and a cultural sense. It is important to note that John was probably writing this in the early 740s, so it is likely that the religion that became Islam was not yet seen as distinctive enough to be called anything more than a distant relative of Judaism, or, in John’s eyes, a strange admixture of twisted, erroneous beliefs coming from both Judaism and Christianity in other words, a heresy.


As the authors meticulously show, the name 'Muhammad' first appears on coins in Syria bearing Christian iconography. In this context the name is used as an honorific meaning 'revered' or 'praiseworthy' and can only refer to Jesus Christ, as Christianity was the predominant religion of the area at this time. This same reference exists in the building inscription of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, built by the caliph 'Abd al-Malik. The implication of these and other findings here presented is that the early Arab rulers adhered to a sect of Christianity. Indeed, evidence from the Koran, finalized at a much later time, shows that its central theological tenets were influenced by a pre-Nicean, Syrian Christianity. Linguistic analysis also indicates that Aramaic, the common language throughout the Near East for many centuries and the language of Syrian Christianity, significantly influenced the Arabic script and vocabulary used in the Koran. Finally, it was not until the end of the eighth and ninth centuries that Islam formed as a separate religion, and the Koran underwent a period of historical development of at least 200 years.


Islam was not a revealed religion, it is nothing more than a perverted, three-headed polyglot of plagiarized scriptures, taken, or "borrowed" from the Syriac Christian Nestorian tradition. Distinctly different from the beliefs codified at the council of Neica, but aligning nearly perfectly with the Islamic beliefs about Christianity, that would later be codified in the Quran, hadith, regarding Jesus and the concept of the Trinity (rejected 5:73) along with the traditions of Mary, who they suggested was  (part of the Trinity 5:116) in Christian beliefs.  As well as different beliefs that were taken from various Jewish traditions, and Arab pagan long ingrained, cultural customs and religious rituals centered around the Kabba. (see linked hadith) The hajj is a continuation of those Arab, pagan traditions, practiced for centuries before Islam "adopted" them as its own.

https://www.quranexplorer.com/hadithebook/english/Hadith/bukhari/002.026.706.html     ( full text in comment one)

The reverberations have affected non-Muslim scholars in Western countries. ''Between fear and political correctness, it's not possible to say anything other than sugary nonsense about Islam,'' said one scholar at an American university who asked not to be named, referring to the threatened violence as well as the widespread reluctance on United States college campuses to criticize other cultures.

While scriptural interpretation may seem like a remote and innocuous activity, close textual study of Jewish and Christian scripture played no small role in loosening the Church's domination on the intellectual and cultural life of Europe, and paving the way for unfettered secular thought. ''The Muslims have the benefit of hindsight of the European experience, and they know very well that once you start questioning the holy scriptures, you don't know where it will stop,'' the scholar explained.

The touchiness about questioning the Koran predates the latest rise of Islamic militancy. As long ago as 1977, John Wansbrough of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London wrote that subjecting the Koran to ''analysis by the instruments and techniques of biblical criticism is virtually unknown.''

Mr. Wansbrough insisted that the text of the Koran appeared to be a composite of different voices or texts compiled over dozens if not hundreds of years. After all, scholars agree that there is no evidence of the Koran until 691 -- 59 years after Muhammad's death -- when the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem was built, carrying several Koranic inscriptions.

These inscriptions differ to some degree from the version of the Koran that has been handed down through the centuries, suggesting, scholars say, that the Koran may have still been evolving in the last decade of the seventh century. Moreover, much of what we know as Islam -- the lives and sayings of the Prophet -- is based on texts from between 130 and 300 years after Muhammad's death


The Islamic profession of faith, the shahada was very different in the early part of the eighth century than it is today. That can be confirmed by a study of the early coins of the Islamic empire.

The first coins images, date year II.III, and IIII (703-6) have an obverse inscription which is merely a few epithets for God: "God is eternal, God is great, Creator of all" a formula translation the shahada does not appear untill the next sub-series, beginning in indiction VII (708-9) the inscription 'there is no god except the One, who has no other associate' on these latter is quite close though not identical to that on the second issue with images.


Abu Bakar the first Caliph, and the first to attempt to compile the Quran assigned Zaid bin Thabit the monumental task. (see linked hadith) But he died before the task was complete. The second caliph Umar Ibn Khattab attempted to compile the Quran, but he died before completion was done as well. Uthman Ibn Affan was up next. Third times the charm its said? Maybe?!

According to tradition, the next step was taken under ‘Uthman (644-656). One of ‘Uthman’s generals asked the caliph to make such a collection because serious disputes had broken out among his troops from different provinces in regard to the correct readings of the Koran. ‘Uthman chose Zayd ibn Thabit to prepare the official text. Zayd, with the help of three members of noble Meccan families, carefully revised the Koran comparing his version with the "leaves" in the possession of Hafsa, ‘Umar’s daughter; and as instructed, in case of difficulty as to the reading, Zayd followed the dialect of the Quraysh, the Prophet’s tribe. The copies of the new version, which must have been completed between 650 and ‘Uthman’s death in 656, were sent to Kufa, Basra, Damascus, and perhaps Mecca, and one was, of course, kept in Medina. All other versions were ordered to be destroyed.

This version of events is also open to criticism. The Arabic found in the Koran is not a dialect. In some versions the number of people working on the commission with Zayd varies, and in some are included the names of persons who were enemies of ‘Uthman, and the name of someone known to have died before these events! This phase two of the story does not mention Zayd’s part in the original collection of the Koran discussed in phase one.

Apart from Wansbrough and his disciples, whose work we shall look at in a moment, most modern scholars seem to accept that the establishment of the text of the Koran took place under ‘Uthman between 650 and 656, despite all the criticisms mentioned above. They accept more or less the traditional account of the ‘Uthmanic collection, it seems to me, without giving a single coherent reason for accepting this second tradition as opposed to the first tradition of the collection under Abu Bakr. There is a massive gap in their arguments, or rather they offer no arguments at all.


But, even after that, it is not the Quran we have today, no, that was produced possibly centuries later. A full three centuries after Mohammad is said to have moved to Medina. The first diacritical marks were added to the Quran, making it readable, at the start of the eighth century. But the later Mushasfs (Qurans) were "improved" three centuries after Mohammad died.

Various Jewish, and Christian, text were plagiarized, used without properly attributing them to the rightful sources. Also, in the history of the compilation of the Quran,  pre-Islamic Arab poetry was fabricated to further the deception at the direction of the early caliphs 

Later on, during the time of Abdul Malik (d. 705), the i’jam (the dotting of letter(s) in the Arabic alphabet) was needed in order to distinguish between those consonants that are similar in form. However, this use of the dotting system led to confusion with the aforementioned use of vowel indicators. Instead of using dots for vowels, the vowel symbols that we use today started to be used.

Manuscript copies of the mushafs were improved and beautified by the third century after the Hijra. Sura names, numerical verse indicators to separate the verses, the Arabic letter “م” (mim) to indicate a pause, the letter “” (lam’alif) for places where there was no pause, and letters like “ج” (jim) for cases where one can either pause or pass, have all been introduced to enable the correct recitation of the Qur’an.


Taha Hussein was a very brave Egyptian academic, who closely examined the history of pre-Islamic poetry, relating to the early years of Islam. He found that the early poems were fabricated at the direction of the Caliphs to support their telling of events and falsely placed in the pre-Islamic period only to support an Islamic tradition that did not, in reality, exist. Strongly suggesting they were just making up an Islamic tradition as they went along.

His application of modern critical methods in Fi al-shiʾr al-jāhilī (1926; “On Pre-Islamic Poetry”) embroiled him in fierce polemics. In this book he contended that a great deal of the poetry reputed to be pre-Islamic had been forged by Muslims of a later date for various reasons, one being to give credence to Qurʾānic myths.


On Jahiliyya Poetry was assailed from all sides following it publication in April 1926. However, religious criticisms levelled at the book were the most serious. Epitomising this phalanx of assaults was an article by Mohamed Abdel-Muttalib, a professor at Dar Al-Ulum ( an Islamic and Arabic language college), in Al-Ahram of 2 May 1926 in response to Taha Hussein's commentary on the story of Ibrahim and Ismail (Abraham and Ishmael). Hussein wrote: "In ancient times, there was a war between the Arabs and the Jews that ended in a truce, after which the two sides sought to create a bond of kinship between them, towards which end this story was invented. The story appealed to the Quraish tribe who felt it in their interests to establish that Mecca had a glory such as that of ancient Rome and because it relates that the Ka'ba was constructed by Ibrahim and Ismail... When Islam arrived and was resisted by the pagans, it took advantage of this story to establish the bond between Islam and the two ancient religions, Christianity and Judaism, thereby fortifying its power to overcome Arab paganism."

Hussein concludes: "Thus, the circumstances surrounding this story are clear. It is of relatively recent conception, appearing shortly before the emergence of Islam, and was used by Islam for a religious purpose and accepted by Mecca for a religious as well as a political purpose. Consequently, literary and linguistic history can disregard it in order to determine the origins of classical Arabic."


But passages in the work questioning the historicity of the Qurʾān drew the attention and wrath of the ulamā of al-Azhar and conservative politicians. Ḥusayn was accused of blasphemy and demands were made that he be relieved of his university post. Ḥusayn was supported by the university's rector, Aḥmad Luṭfī al-Sayyid, and eventually got to keep his job. But then he was summoned before a court that charged and convicted him of apostasy and banned his book from circulation