Author Topic: The incorruptible mighty book  (Read 4938 times)

ayman

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The incorruptible mighty book
« on: July 12, 2005, 11:06:13 PM »
Peace Riz, all,

I apologize for the long post but there are many interesting points raised that I would like to touch on and hopefully generate more logical analysis from everyone. As you requested, I am moving the discussion to this new thread to refocus the debate.

Quote from: "Riz"
I wouldn't say there is no proof that Mecca didn't exist. Look at this link:http://religionresearchinstitute.org/mecca/construction.htm


Yes, a small insignificant town existed in that location but it was not named Mecca. The earliest reference to a town called Mecca is in the Continuatio Byzantia Arabica, which is dated to about 740CE. So that is over 100 years after the alleged date of death of the prophet.

Quote from: "Riz"
If the Arabs really wanted to confuse people, they would have named the city Becca instead of Mecca or at least renamed it. Either way, Abraham was never in Mecca and I won't argue that.


They would not have been able to do so if Becca was already known to be somewhere else. Hence, they had to pick up a common noun from the great reading to name the location of their pagan shrine after. This allowed them to deceive people into thinking that the location is supported by the great reading.

Quote from: "Riz"
Going back to Abraham. If the bayt of Allah is not a physical place, but rather a system of God, then why did Abraham build the first bayt of Allah at Becca? Wouldn't this mental or spiritual place have been established when he first discovered God?

3:96 says "The first bayt established for the people is the one in Bakk?a, "
So your saying the first house made for people was in Bakka? Clearly the first house was not in Bakka. There were many other people living in houses before Abraham. So then do you say the bayt is a spiritual way of life in which we submit only to God? This way of life was nothing Abraham established, its been there since Adam. So what is the bayt?


I think that the key is "for the people", all people without discrimination. Sure, families had houses and religious congregations had houses but they were always kind of exclusive to a certain group. This is kind of like the present temple in so-called Makka. Before you even reach Makka, the highway branches and a big sign on one branch says "Muslims" and on the other branch the sign says "Non-Muslims". I am certain that Abraham did not make such separation in this first house, which was FOR THE PEOPLE.

Another interesting note is that by saying "first", 3:96 makes it clear that there were OTHER second, third, etc. similar houses. When the command in 3:97 is issued to do the debate/"7ajj", it talks about "house" in general and not the first one. Thus, inviting people with the debate can be to any subsequent house established at the location that The God prescribed in 22:26. That location is not any particular place but is anywhere people don't set up partners with The God.

Quote from: "Riz"
You speak of Jesus' family and disciples as though they betrayed him. They didn't, it was Paul who never even knew Jesus that invented the tales which then grew out of control.


The only thing we KNOW is that the lies about Jesus were invented very quickly and grew very rapidly. In fact, those lies may have contributed to accelerating the spread of Christianity as pagans were able to convert while keeping the traditions and ideologies that they cherished. So it is entirely possible that the same thing happened with Ahmed.

Quote from: "Riz"
Regarding the non-muslim evidence. I was speaking of the writings of Jacob of Edessa, Sebeos, John bar Penkaye, Anastasious of Sinai, Germanus, Thomas the Presbyter, and John Moschos. All of whom wrote during the first centure AH. The earliest being 660, 28 years after Muhammad was supposed to have died.

The Sunnah as practiced today has existed way before the coming of the Abbasid empire. As I stated above, much of the core Sunnah practices have been witnessed even by non-muslims starting in 660.


But if you read those writings, they speak mostly about the military conflicts going on at the time between the Roman Christians on one hand and the Jews, Saracens, and pagans on the other hand. They rarely speak about religious practices. Even in the very few cases where they do, the practices they describe are different from the Sunnah practices we know today.

Interestingly, such writings never use the word "Muslim" but they speak of Saracens, Muhajerin, Jews, and/or pagans. As we will see, one thing that we notice throughout all the Roman Christian accounts is the very close alliance between the Jews and the Muhajerin against the Roman Christians.

First, let me put the sources that you gave (there are actually many more) in chronological order and summarize what they wrote.

John Moschus

We do not have the direct writings of John Moschus who died in 619CE. We only have the work of Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem who supposedly expanded on the writings of John Moschus and died around 639CE. Here is the only passage from a work originally composed by John Moschus:

"The godless Saracens entered the holy city of Christ our Lord, Jerusalem, with the permission of God and in punishment for our negligence, which is considerable, and immediately proceeded in haste to the place which is called the Capitol. They took with them men, some by force, others by their own will, in order to clean that place and to build that cursed thing, intended for their prayer and which they call a "Midzgith"."

As you can see, there is nothing in the passage about any Sunnah. Also, unless the dating is way off, since John Moschus might have already died before this event, it is unlikely that he wrote it.

So here we have an account, which can be dated to 639CE or only 5 years after the prophet's alleged date of death. This account matches with another document we get from Sebeos. However, even though Sebeos's document is further from the fact, it seems to contain more details. As you will see, throughout those reports, the matching of the content with the traditional dating of when the prophet lived is very problematic.

Thomas the Presbyter

Thomas only mentions very briefly a couple of military battles in two accounts dating to 640+CE. They describe a defeat of the Romans in the year 634CE. Interestingly, in one of the accounts he talks about the invaders as Tayyaye (People from the area of Hira in present day Iraq) and describes them as the Tayyaye of Mohamed.

Sebeos, Bishop of the Bagratunis

Although the authorship of a chronicle talking about military conflicts of the time is attributed to Sebeos, this has been reexamined by modern researchers and they now consider this chronicle anonymous.

In one of the passages, it talks about an event that may correlate to the event earlier described by Sophronius above:

Now I shall speak about the plot of the Jewish rebels, who, finding support from the Hagarenes for a short time, planned to [re]build the temple of Solomon. Locating the place called the holy of holies, they constructed [the temple with a pedestal, to serve as their place of prayer. But the Ishmaelites envied [the Jews], expelled them from the place, and named the same building their own place of prayer. [The Jews] built a temple for their worship, elsewhere.

Here the anonymous writer may be referring to the same building talked about by Sophronius. However, while Sophronius talks about the Saracens building a temple, here the chronicle says that the Jews first built a temple and then the Hagarenes (another name that seems to be sometimes used in lieu of Saracens) took it over.

He goes on in length describing a conspiracy where some militant Jews pretending to be Christians went into this congregational place and took some pigs and messed up the place. He says that the goal of the conspiracy was to enrage the Hagarenes so that they persecute and kill the Christians. However, the plot was foiled because one witness saw the perpetrators and recognized some of them.

John bar Penkaye

Relatively speaking, John spoke favorably of the Arabs (around 687CE). He conveyed that no attempts were made by the Arabs at forced conversion. He said that they only required each person to pay a tribute allowing him to remain in whatever faith he wished. He spoke highly of Mu'awiya and wrote: "Justice flourished in his time and there was great peace in the regions under his control; he allowed everyone to live as they wanted." He also spoke of the prosperity and unprecedented economic boom under his rule. His only criticism of the Arabs was the lack of persecution of people who are not Roman Christians: "There was no distinction between pagan and Christian," he complained, "the faithful was not known from a Jew."

So here the picture that we get is one where the Ummayadds seem to be a kind of secular regime that lets everyone live and believe freely as they wished as long as they paid taxes. This attitude was unheard of under Roman Christian rule where even Christians themselves who slightly deviated from the Roman Christian Church's dogma faced brutal persecution.

Interestingly, John inadvertently gave us a crucial clue about what caused corruptions to appear so quickly and a strong motive for why those corruptions rapidly and firmly took hold. Naturally, due to the practice of levying a tax on non-Muslims, many people must have converted not out of conviction but only to save money. Obviously, the majority of converts only converted superficially but largely remained loyal to their forefathers' doctrine. Thus, pagans, Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians who converted simply imported their practices and beliefs and assimilated them into their new religion. This allowed them to participate in the economic boom without giving up their forefathers' traditions.

Anastasius of Sinai

Anastasius (died 700CE) is a fervent Christian apologetic and his writings merely focused on attacking other religions.  He writes angrily of some Saracens, "who had expressed their disbelief and blasphemed the holy place, its icons and its crosses". He mocks them, saying that "no such miracles had occurred in any other religion, or in any synagogue of the Jews or Arabs."

What is interesting here is that Anastasius talks about Saracens as BOTH Jews and Arabs and describes them in the same terms. So once again we get the impression of a very close alliance that goes well into the Ummayyad dynasty. This is completely contrary to the traditional Sunni accounts, which claim that the prophet severed his ties with the Jews and persecuted them long before the Ummayyads. This confirms that Hadiths talking about Muslims killing and persecuting Jews were invented in a later period after the relationship went sour.

Anastasius talks about the enslavement of Christian prisoner of wars from islands such Cyprus. He indicates that the masters of the Christians performing forced labor in Sinai were Jews and the slaves were refused permission by their Jewish master to attend mass in honor of the Virgin Mary. So here we have the Jews taking slaves from the wars fought by the Saracens. So once again, we see that Jews played major roles in those wars and benefited from them as victors do. The enslavement of prisoners of war is a Jewish and pagan practice that was adopted by the Saracens. Therefore, naturally there was a strong motive for fabricating Hadiths justifying such practices by claiming that the prophet did the same.

Jacob of Edessa

Jacob of Edessa (died 708CE) mainly wrote about how a Roman Christian can cope with the new reality of Christians being rapidly reduced to a religious minority. In doing so, he described in passing some of the practices of the Muhajirin and the Jews. Jacob was in favor of leniency. For example, he said that priests may give the blessing of the saints to the Muhajirin or the pagans. He said that they may also teach the children of Muhajirin, Harranians, and Jews.

What is interesting to note here is that Jacob refers to three entities, Muhajirin (Muslims), pagans, and Jews. What is surprising is that according to Jacob, Arab paganism continued to exist as late as the beginning of the eighth century. This is in line with the Ummayyad policy of secular tolerance towards other beliefs as long as they paid taxes as other contemporaneous eye witnesses reported in their manuscripts as we saw earlier.

In another passage, Jacob writes to priests on how to deal with Christians who convert to Muslims or pagans.

We should not rebaptise a Christian who becomes a Muhagir or pagan (mhaggar aw mahnep) then returns, but the prayer of penitents is to be said over him by the bishop and a period of penance enjoined upon him.

This again shows that Arab paganism was still practiced at the time of Jacob. In another passage, Jacob's account confirms that Christians converted on their own, without being forced to do so:

"Many people who were members of the church will deny the true faith of the Christians, along with the holy cross and the awesome Mysteries, without being subjected to any compulsion, lashings or blows."

This confirms the earlier Ummayyad policy described earlier by John bar Penkaye.

Here is a very interesting quote from Jacob's manuscripts that has significant implications on the traditional Sunni accounts:

"All we have regarding Haggar (Islam) are the notices that 'Muhammad (Mhmt) went down for trade to the lands of Palestine, Arabia and Syrian Phoenicia,' that 'the kingdom of the Arabians (Arbaye), those whom we call Tayyaye, began when Heraclius, king of the Romans, was in his eleventh year and Khusrau, king of the Persians, was in his thirty-first year' (620-21CE), and that 'the Tayyaye began to carry out raids in the land of Palestine.'"

What is interesting here is that Jacob's dating of the events pushes back the date of the beginning of Arab conquests by at least 12 years. According to the traditional accounts, in the year 620CE Islam was still in its infancy and the prophet still hasn't even emigrated from so-called Makkah. According the traditions, the Muslim kingship over Arabia wasn't even established until 632CE and the raids on the Romans in Palestine didn't begin until afterwards. The discrepancy in the dates between the hearsay-based traditions and the archeological manuscript-based eye witness accounts places serious doubts over the entire traditional history of events.

In a letter John the Stylite, Jacob is answering a question about the direction prayer. It is one of the very few places where non-Muslim writers talk about the Muslim practices:

"Your question is vain . . . for it is not to the south that the Jews pray, nor either do the Mhaggraye (the Muslims). The Jews who live in Egypt, and also the Mhaggraye there, as I saw with my own eyes and will now set out for you, prayed to the east, and still do, both peoples?the Jews towards Jerusalem and the Mhaggraye towards the Ka'ba. And those Jews who are to the south of Jerusalem pray to the north; and those in the land of Babel, in Hira and in Basra, pray to the west. And also the Mhaggraye who are there pray to the west, towards the Ka'ba; and those who are to the south of the Ka'ba pray to the north, towards that place. So from all this that has been said, it is clear that it is not to the south that the Jews and Mhaggraye here in the regions of Syria pray, but towards Jerusalem or the Ka'ba, the patriarchal places of their races.

Jacob's accounts place the so-called Ka'ba in the same vicinity as Jerusalem as late as the beginning of the eighth century CE and demolishes the historicity of the present so-called Qibla in so-called Makkah. Now this is significant in light of the previous accounts discussed above about the Muslims building some sort of temple on the site of the temple mount in Jerusalem. This correlates with an interesting note by Arculf, the Pilgrim who in the 670s CE wrote the following:

'In that famous place where once stood the magnificently constructed Temple, near the eastern wall, the Saracens now frequent a rectangular house of prayer which they have built in a crude manner, constructing it from raised planks and large beams over some remains of ruins. This house can, as it is said, accommodate at least 3000 people."

Another interesting account is by the Rabbi Simon ben Yohai who wrote in 680CE or so:

"The second king who arises from Ishmael will be a lover of Israel. He restores their breaches and the breaches of the Temple. He hews Mount Moriah, makes it level and builds a Hishtahawaya (mosque) there on the Temple rock, as it is said: "Your nest is set in the rock."

Could this be a reference to this second king building the Dome of the Rock? Is this second king, the second Caliph?

Now when we combine this with the accounts of the Jews also rebuilding a temple on the site of the Temple mount we get the impression that there were TWO structures built on the site of the Temple mount. One was built by the Muslims while the other built by the Jews who were in close allegiance against the Roman Christians. As Sebeos (or the anonymous writer) described, sometimes later, the Muslims took over the Jewish-built Temple and the Jews built another temple elsewhere in Jerusalem. At that point, the TWO structures became "Islamic". Those could very well be the originals of the two present structures of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa.

Patriarch Germanus

In a documented sermon that took place sometimes 715-30 CE Patriarch Germanus lashes out at the Jews and Saracens who have allied against the Roman Christians:

"It is worthy of our more special observation that not now only, but very often, reproaches of this kind have been urged against us by Jews and by the actual servants of idolatry, whose intention was to cast a blot on our immaculate and sacred faith. . . . The word of truth stops the mouth of these by the mention of their own peculiar abominations, branding with infamy the heathen with the wickedness and abominations of Gentile sacrifices and fables, making the Jews to blush, not only by reminding them of the frequent lapses of their fathers into idolatry, but, further, of their own opposition to the divine law which they made such a boast of holding. . . . With respect to the Saracens, since they also seem to be among those who urge these charges against us, it will be quite enough for their shame and confusion to allege against them their invocation which even to this day they make in the wilderness to a lifeless stone, namely that which is called Chobar, and the rest of their vain conversation received by tradition from their fathers as, for instance, the ludicrous mysteries of their solemn festivals."

Above we notice two very interesting references to Saracen rituals. The first is the reference to the Saracens making invocation to a "lifeless stone" in the wilderness. Unlike the temple in Jerusalem or its vicinity that Jacob and Arcluf described and which Jacob named Kaaba, this "lifeless stone" is in the wilderness and was called Chobar. John of Damascus wrote around 730CE that Chobar was a symbol of the morning star and Aphrodite that the Saracens worshipped. Aphrodite is the Hellenized Nabataean goddess Allat.

This description by Patriarch Germanus of pagan practices fits a stone cube in the middle of nowhere in the desert. Given that the town which was later named Mekkah, didn't exist on any maps or in any pre-quranic inscriptions, this description fits the present stone cube that Sectarians venerate.

Secondly, Patriarch Germanus mentions festivals that those pagans received by traditions from their forefathers NOT through a prophet (even a false one) or a book of any sorts. Could those festivals be the same festivals that Epiphanius described some 300 years earlier? Epiphanius mentioned that the festivals were to celebrate the birth of the idol Dhu Al-Shaara from the virgin mother goddess Allat around the winter solstice and they culminated with the pagans spinning seven times around the inner sanctuary of the temple.

Let us try to summarize some of what we found, specifically as relating to the various temples discussed above:

1. There seems to be a close alliance between the Jews and the Muhajirin against the Roman Christians that continues well into the Ummayyad period. The pagans seem to have also taken part in that alliance and Arab paganism continued well into the Ummayyad period.

2. Upon the conquest of Jerusalem, two temples were built, a Jewish temple and a Muhajirin temple. The pagans possibly had their own temple where they venerate a lifeless stone set in the desert. So there seems to be three competing temples, a Jewish one and a Muhajirin one in Jerusalem and a pagan one in the wilderness of the desert.

3. Some years later after the conquest of Jerusalem there seems to be a rift between the Jews and the Muhajirin on the issue of the temple and the Muhajirin end up taking over the Jewish temple so that now they control the two structures on the Temple Mount.

What does all this mean and how much of it should be taken at face value? I don't know yet. However, one thing is for sure, the picture we get is certainly very different from the traditional picture.

Quote from: "Riz"
Its true that we don't know when exactly Muhammad lived.


Traditionalists contend that the prophet was born in the year of Abraha's expedition to Arabia. The year of Abraha's expedition as provided on the Sabaic inscription of Abraha translates into about 550CE. This is 20 years before the traditional 570CE birth date of the prophet. As we saw above, the dates we get from Jacob of Edessa are at least 12 years prior to traditional accounts. I think that given the evidence, we can reasonably say that the prophet lived at least 12-20 years prior to when traditionalists claim he lived. This may indicate that the present so-called Islamic calendar is based on an event that took place after the death of the prophet.

Quote from: "Riz"
But would you agree that it was because of his efforts that the Quran spread?


Yes.

Quote from: "Riz"
Would you agree that somehow, through someone or some people God preserved the Quran?


This is the most fascinating and baffling aspect of this study. When you look at how closely the Jews were allied with the Muhajirin well into the Ummayad era, you can see why they had strong influence on the development of today's Islam. You can see that influence in the many Hadiths that are largely borrowed from Jewish doctrine. You can also see how people from various religions that superficially converted to the new faith assimilated their own traditions into Islam. Yet, somehow in the face of those overwhelming forces of corruptions and against all odds, the great reading was preserved. To me, the fact that so many Hadiths were manufactured simply shows that the great reading was incorruptible.

Quote from: "Riz"
If so then lets look at what the picture is starting to look like.

-Muhammad was the messenger of God through whom the Quran was revealed.
-He wrote down the Quran.
-There were enough Muslims in Muhammads time that they were able to fight battles. Battles involve a lot of people on both sides.
-Arabia went from being a pagan region, to a Monothiestic region.
-Eventually pagan ideas and rituals came into the religion. Nevertheless, people never went back to full blown polythiesm.


From the evidence, we can see that Arab pagans and Arab paganism survived well into the Ummayad dynasty and are described in terms different than those describing the Muhajireen (Muslims). Pagan, Jewish and other faiths (such as Zoroastrian) ideas and rituals were naturally assimilated as a result of superficial conversion by people who only wanted to save on taxes. This was to be expected. The greed of the early Muslims was a major contributing factor to the corruptions that followed.

Quote from: "Riz"
Its very hard to imagine that everyone Muhammad knew betrayed him and included pagan rituals in the religion as traditional history would lead us to believe. Traditional history records that some of the closest disciples became the leaders of Islam. It is recorded by Muslims as well as non-Muslim sources that it was under these early leaders under whom Islam expanded. It is also recorded by both that there were civil wars that took place under some of these disciples.


There is no need for betrayal or conspiracy. It is natural that when people convert superficially for the sake of saving money they will include as much as possible from their previous faith into the new faith.

Also, the early Muslim leaders seem to have been heavily influenced by Jewish ideology. As we saw, the second king of the Arabs (which would be Caliph Umar according to the popular traditions) was "a lover of Israel" writes the Rabbi Simon ben Yohai in his manuscript. The impression you get is one of a "puppet" ruler of an emerging superpower who places Jewish interests above anything else. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

The entire traditional account needs to be revised based on physical archeological evidence. Especially the dating needs to be corrected.

Quote from: "Riz"
My conclusion I draw from this. Muhammad lived before these people and these people were NOT his disciples and probably never even knew him. They shed the blood of many Muslims which is prohibitted in the Quran. These people did not have the traits of rightous people. They were not people whose hearts were united as the Quran records.


I totally agree and if one looks closely at the dating from the early evidence, one gets the same impression.

Quote from: "Riz"
Mecca did have the Kaba and pilgrimages being made to it by the Muslims under these leaders(last 3 anyways) and this is recorded by both mus/non-mus sources.


No. The name Mecca doesn't appear in any of those sources. In fact, the Chronicler of Khuzistan manuscript (dated to the 660sCE) described many towns in Arabia, even small ones, but never mentions Mecca.

Quote from: "Riz"
So how did these people come to know the Quran? How was the Quran perserved even through all the corruption which happened under them?


This mighty book being preserved against all odds is what is most amazing.

Quote from: "Riz"
The only scenerio which makes sense to me in this case would be that Muhammad lived 2, 3 or perhaps more generations before these people. Their community, their parents already had the Quran well preserved and practiced it well.


I think that one generation prior is probably enough given the other major inherent systemic problems. Also, keep in mind that a generation back then was a much shorter time than now because life expectancy was very low. There are manuscripts describing instances where in a single year the Arab population was cut in half by Malaria and Dysentery. Such parasites and many more thrived in the hot climate where the Arabs lived. Even today with all the advancement in medicine, the life expectancy of an average Middle Eastern man is in the sixties. I would say that 1400 year ago it was probably in the fifties at best. On the other hand, the traditional accounts show the prophet still highly active, fighting battles, etc. when he was in his sixties. This is extremely improbable. In fact, if you look at all the companions and the reporters of Hadith they seem to have lived exceptionally long lives, with many of them living well over one hundred years. The tampering with their age might have been necessary to keep the chain of transmission of Hadiths from being broken.

Quote from: "Riz"
Slowly, like with all other major religions, pagan influences crept in. Muhammad became more of a legend and many mythical stories were attached to him such as his breast being torn open and all impurities being removed when he was a child. His geneology linked with one of the great peoples of the Qurans, and Bible: Abraham. Muhammads story was now located in Arabia, namely Mecca. Nevertheless, the legend of Muhammad and his Quran had become major parts of the region because when the Arabs started to conquer other lands, they spread this corrupted faith of theirs.


I think that the conquest and the corruption came hand in hand. As the Arabs became greedy and conquered more people and those people superficially converted, they integrated their traditions into the new religion.

Quote from: "Riz"
Islam could not have been corrupted after these people. Islam was practiced the same way in the outer regions the same way it was practiced in the inner Arab regions. Meaning it grew from inside out, not the other way around.

This is the most sensible situation to me. As Lote-tree mentioned earlier, Islam did not come into being in a vacuum. It was not created overnight. What I am trying to discuss here is the birth and expansion of Islam. What I have stated are my theories based on the Quran, historical documents both Muslim and non-Muslim, and reality as it is today. Feel free to point out flaws in my logic.


The way I see it from the evidence is that the great reading was a very powerful vehicle for change. This vehicle was used by corrupt rulers and people out to promote their own agendas and ideologies. Amazingly they could not corrupt the great reading so they simply renamed their own rituals and shrines to match common concepts in it. Thus, they rendered those concepts meaningless to those who accept those proper names. They also attributed a large body of borrowed traditions to the prophet. The fact that they had to go through all this trouble speaks volumes about the incorruptibility of this mighty document.

Peace and all best wishes,

Ayman

Riz

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The incorruptible mighty book
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2005, 03:54:01 AM »
Hey Ayman,

Awsome post. Really 8)  

There were some quotes you mentioned in there which I had never seen.  Can I ask for a source? I have two books from Robert Hoyland, one which contains many references to Islam from non-muslims.  Is that the one you are getting this from?

Also, I think the "second king" is a reference to the second Ummayad king Yazid I ibn Muawiyah (680-683).

I will probably give a longer reply tomorrow night because right now its 4am and Im can't think too much  :?

Until then, Peace!

ichephren

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The incorruptible mighty book
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2005, 10:35:23 AM »
A few more quotes:

1.[John of Damascus, De haeresibus, C/CI, 63-64 (pp. 486-487):]
They call us associators (hetairiastas) because, they say, we introduce to God an associate by saying Christ is the Son of God and God. To them we say that the prophets and the scripture have transmitted this, and you, as you affirm, accept the prophets. . . . Again we say to them: "How, when you say that Christ is the Word and Spirit of God, do you revile us as associators? For the Word and the Spirit are inseparable. . . . So we call you mutilators (koptas) of God." They misrepresent us as idolaters because we prostrate ourselves before the cross, which they loathe. And we say to them: "How then do you rub yourselves on a stone at your Ka'ba (Chabatha) and hail the stone with fond kisses?" . . . This, then, which they call "stone," is the head of Aphrodite, whom they used to worship and whom they call Chabar.
-This is dated to the 730s.

2.These, then, were idolators and worshippers of hte morning star and Aphrodite whom in fact they called Chabar in their own language, which means "great." So until the times of Heraclius they were plain idolators. From that time till now a false prophet appeared among them, surnamed Muhammad (Mamed), who, having happened upon the Old and the New Testament and apparently having conversed, in like manner, with an Arian monk, put together his own heresy. And after ingratiating himself with the people by a pretence of piety, he spread rumours of a scripture (graphe) brought down to him from heaven. So, having drafted some ludicrous doctrines in his book, he handed over to them this form of worship (to sebas).

3.Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem (d. ca. 639)[This dates to the 6th of December in 636 or 637.]the godless Saracens entered the holy city of Christ our Lord, Jerusalem, with the permission of God and in punishment for our negligence, which is considerable, and immediately proceeded in haste to the place which is called the Capitol. They took with them men, some by force, others by their own will, in order to clean that place and to build that cursed thing, intended for their prayer and which they call a mosque (midzgitha). (Pratum spirituale, 100-102 [p. 63])

4.Fredegar, a Frankish Chronicler (wr. 650s).The Hagarenes, who are also called Saracens . . . ?a circumcised people who of old had lived beneath the Caucasus on the shores of the Caspian in a country known as Ercolia?had now grown so numerous that at last they took up arms and threw themselves upon the provinces of the emperor Heraclius, who despatched an army to hold them. In the ensuing battle the Saracens were the victors and cut the vanquished to pieces. It is said that the Saracens killed in this engagement 150,000 men. Then they sent a deputation to Heraclius with an offer to send him the spoils of battle, but he would accept nothing because of his desire for vengeance on the Saracens. (Fredegar, Chronicle [p. 218])

5.Doctrina Jacobi (July 634)When the candidatus was killed by the Saracens, I was at Caesarea and I set off by boat to Sykamina. People were saying "the candidatus has been killed," and we Jews were overjoyed. And they were saying that the prophet had appeared, coming with the Saracens, and that he was proclaiming the advent of the anointed one, the Christ who was to come. I, having arrived at Sykamina, stopped by a certain old man well-versed in scriptures, and I said to him: "What can you tell me about the prophet who has appeared with the Saracens?" He replied, groaning deeply: "He is false, for the prophets do not come armed with a sword. Truly they are works of anarchy being committed today and I fear that the first Christ to come, whom the Christians worship, was the one sent by God and we instead are preparing to receive the Antichrist. Indeed, Isaiah said that the Jews would retain a perverted and hardened heart until all the earth should be devastated. But you go, master Abraham, and find out about the prophet who has appeared." So I, Abraham, inquired and heard from those who had met him that there was no truth to be found in the so-called prophet, only the shedding of men's blood. He says also that he has the keys of paradise, which is incredible. (Doctrina Jacobi V.16, 209. [p. 57])
-Notice that this except was written in 634 C.E., 2yrs after Muhammad is supposed to have died.

Some other info:
1.Saracens  
(s?r?esenz) , term commonly used by medieval Europeans to designate the Arabs and, by extension, the Muslims in general, whether they were Arabs, Moors, or Seljuk Turks.

2.Saracen
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(Redirected from Saracens)

    For the English rugby union team, see Saracens (rugby club).

The term Saracen comes from Greek sarakenoi.

In the early centuries of the Roman Empire it was used as the name of an Arab tribe in the Sinai, apparently taken from the Arabic word شرقيين sharqiyyin ("easterners").

Later the Greek-speaking subjects of the Empire applied it to all Arabs. After the rise of Islam, and especially at the time of the Crusades, its usage was extended to all Muslims, particularly those in Sicily and southern Italy. In older Western historical literature, the term "Saracen Empire" was often used to refer to the first Arab Caliphate, ruled by the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties.

In Christian polemical writing against Islam, the name was made to mean "those empty of Sarah" or "not from Sarah," as Arabs were descended from Hagar.

ayman

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« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2005, 12:10:28 PM »
Peace Riz,

Thank you for your kind comments.

Quote from: "Riz"
There were some quotes you mentioned in there which I had never seen.  Can I ask for a source? I have two books from Robert Hoyland, one which contains many references to Islam from non-muslims.  Is that the one you are getting this from?


I got the quotes from Peter Kirby's excellent summary of Hoyland's book:

http://www.christianorigins.com/islamrefs.html

Quote from: "Riz"
Also, I think the "second king" is a reference to the second Ummayad king Yazid I ibn Muawiyah (680-683).


Simon ben Yohai who wrote this was writing it in a kind of prophetic style. Although the writing is dated to post 680, he uses the future tense to describe past events as if he foresaw them. Thus, someone reading this a few years later would be led to believe that Simon ben Yohai prophecized the future. Here is an example from the same document:

"Was it not enough what the wicked kingdom of Edom has done to us, but [we deserve] the kingdom of Ishmael too?" At once Metatron, the foremost angel (sar ha-penim), answered him and said: "Do not fear, son of man, for the Almighty only brings the kingdom of Ishmael in order to deliver you from this wicked one (Edom). He raises up over them (Ishmaelites) a prophet according to His will and He will conquer the land for them, and they will come and restore it to greatness, and a great dread will come between them and the sons of Esau." Rabbi Simon answered him and said: "How [is it known] that they are our salvation?" He (Metatron) said to him: "Did not the prophet Isaiah say that 'he saw a chariot with a pair of horsemen etc.'? Why did he put hte chariot of asses before the chariot of camels when he should rather have said 'a chariot of camels and [then] a chariot of asses,' because when he (Ishmael, i.e. the Arabs) goes forth [to war], he rides upon on a camel, and when the kingdom will arise by his hands he rides upon an ass? [Given that he said the reverse of this], the chariot of asses, since he (the Messiah) rides upon an ass, shows that they (the Ishmaelites, represented by the chariot of camels) are a salvation for Israel, like the salvation of the rider on an ass (i.e. the Messiah)."

Notice that he describes past events in a kind of pretentious prophetic style and using the future tense. Notice also that throughout he is talking about the early days of the Jewish-Arab alliance. Hence, researchers who studied this document have concluded that he was more likely to be talking about Umar, the second Caliph and not Yazid I ibn Muawiyah. The fact that he wrote this favorably of Arabs after the year 680 demonstrates that unlike traditonalists contend, the Jewish-Arab alliance remained strong well into the Ummayyd dynasty.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Peace and all best wishes,

Ayman

ayman

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« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2005, 01:02:21 PM »
Peace Ichephren, all,

Thank you for posting those quotes. I have one comment.

Quote from: "ichephren"
1.[John of Damascus, De haeresibus, C/CI, 63-64 (pp. 486-487):]
They call us associators (hetairiastas) because, they say, we introduce to God an associate by saying Christ is the Son of God and God. To them we say that the prophets and the scripture have transmitted this, and you, as you affirm, accept the prophets. . . . Again we say to them: "How, when you say that Christ is the Word and Spirit of God, do you revile us as associators? For the Word and the Spirit are inseparable. . . . So we call you mutilators (koptas) of God." They misrepresent us as idolaters because we prostrate ourselves before the cross, which they loathe. And we say to them: "How then do you rub yourselves on a stone at your Ka'ba (Chabatha) and hail the stone with fond kisses?" . . . This, then, which they call "stone," is the head of Aphrodite, whom they used to worship and whom they call Chabar.
-This is dated to the 730s.


I am not sure how the translator translated Chabatha as Ka'ba. However, what is interesting here is that this later account by John of Damascus shows an important trend that I will summarize below.

1. Earlier accounts such as those of Sophronius (around 638) and Sebeos (660s) talk about the temple of the Arabs, they never call it by the name Kaaba. So probably until that time that common noun in the great reading hasn't been hijacked yet.  

2. Some 40 years or a generation later in his Letter to John the Stylite (around 700), Jacob of Edessa calls the Arab temple Kaaba but points to it being in Jerusalem or its vicinity.

3. Afterwards Patriarch Germanus around 715 or so talks about the Arabs having a pagan temple in the desert of Arabia but he calls it Chobar.

4. John of Damascus in the 730s writes about a pagan temple and simultaneously calls it Chabar and possibly a tongue twist on Kaaba.

So here is the chronology of the corruption:

Prophet time - 630s:   No specific Saracen Temple
638-660s:  The first Saracen Temple in Jerusalem is established
660s-700:   The second Saracen Temple in Jerusalem is established by taking over the Jewish Temple next to it
700-715:   One of the Saracen Temples in Jerusalem acquired the name of Kaaba and the practice of facing this structure during prayer is noted
715-730:   The Saracen Temple shifts to the desert of Arabia and is named Chobar
730s-740s:   The Saracen Temple in the desert of Arabia is named both Chabar and Kaaba (or something similar)
740s-Present: The place of the Saracen Temple acquires the name Mekka and the Temple name Chabar quickly dies out and the name Kaaba takes over

As we can see, the corruption had plenty of time to gradually occur in well over a hundred years.

Peace,

Ayman

Nural Amin

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« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2005, 03:55:53 PM »
Peace Ayman,

Great post, it's an eye opener for me!  :shock:

Nural

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« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2005, 03:07:35 PM »
Salaamun alaikum brother Ayman,

Thank you for your detailed, informative and thought provoking analysis. Your exposition of the facts is the best I have encountered so far and clarifies a lot of things.

I have couple of questions for you, in the context of the ongoing discussion.

22:24 Those who have rejected and repel from the path of God and the Restricted Temple that We have made for mankind, for the dweller or the visitor to it; and whoever inclines to evil action in it, We will let them taste a painful retribution.

From this sign it appears that masjid alharam is made for mankind, which implies all mankind. However from 9:29, it appears that the idolaters are not allowed to approach masjid alharam:

9:29 O you who believe, those who have set up partners are impure, so let them not approach the Restricted Temple after this calendar year of theirs; and if you fear poverty, then God will enrich you from His blessings if He wills. God is Knowledgeable, Wise.

1. How can these 2 signs be reconciled ? How can masjid alharam be for mankind when idolaters are not allowed to approach it ?

2. The wording "for the dweller or the visitor to it" in 22:24 and "let them not approach masjid alharam after this calendar year" in 9:29 implies masjid alharam being a physical place. How can this be interpreted if masjid alharam is a non physical place ?

Thanking you in anticipation,

Best regards,

Tanveer

mhsultan

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« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2005, 03:07:13 AM »
Peace brother Ayman! That really was a great analysis. I haven't been reading regularly on the forum for a while now, could you please post the link for where the discussion you mentioned originally started? Thanks!

tanveermd

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« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2005, 10:15:53 AM »
Peace brother mhsultan,

The link for where the discussion originally started is as follows:

http://www.free-minds.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3834

ayman

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« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2005, 01:25:32 PM »
Peace brother Tanveer,

Thank you for your comments, your thoughtful questions, and for providing our kind brother mhsultan with the link.

Quote from: "tanveermd"
Thank you for your detailed, informative and thought provoking analysis. Your exposition of the facts is the best I have encountered so far and clarifies a lot of things.

I have couple of questions for you, in the context of the ongoing discussion.

22:24 Those who have rejected and repel from the path of God and the Restricted Temple that We have made for mankind, for the dweller or the visitor to it; and whoever inclines to evil action in it, We will let them taste a painful retribution.

From this sign it appears that masjid alharam is made for mankind, which implies all mankind. However from 9:29, it appears that the idolaters are not allowed to approach masjid alharam:

9:29 O you who believe, those who have set up partners are impure, so let them not approach the Restricted Temple after this calendar year of theirs; and if you fear poverty, then God will enrich you from His blessings if He wills. God is Knowledgeable, Wise.

1. How can these 2 signs be reconciled ? How can masjid alharam be for mankind when idolaters are not allowed to approach it ?

2. The wording "for the dweller or the visitor to it" in 22:24 and "let them not approach masjid alharam after this calendar year" in 9:29 implies masjid alharam being a physical place. How can this be interpreted if masjid alharam is a non physical place ?


Let me try to answer your question, by providing an alternate translation:

22:25. Those who have rejected/unappreciated and repelled from the path of The God and the institution of obeying the restriction that we had made for the people, equally the one committed in it and the one who left to find clarity. And whoever deviates in it with falsely attributing with injustice, we will cause them to taste from a painful suffering.

41:40-42. Those who falsely attribute in our signs are not hidden from us. Is one who is cast into the fire better, or one who comes safe on the day of resurrection? Do what you will. Surely, He sees what you do. Those who have rejected/unappreciated with the reminder when it came to them and it is a might book. Falsehood does not enter it from the present or from the past, a revelation from a Wise, Praised.


Notice the similarities between 22:25 and 41:40-42.

Next, notice the similarities between 9:29 and 56:77-82:

9:29 O you who had faith, those who have set up partners are impure, so let them not approach the institution of obeying the forbidden after this year of theirs; and if you fear poverty, then The God will enrich you from His blessings if He wills. The God is Knowledgeable, Wise.

56:77-82. It is an honorable reading in a protected book. It is not touched except by the cleansed. It is descended by the Lord of the worlds. Do you frown on this saying? And you make your sustenance that you lie/falsify?


My interpretation is that "al-masjid al-7aram" (the institution of obeying the restriction) is a non-physical institution of authority like "sabil Allah" (the path of The God) is non-physical. Those who rejected repel from both in the same way. One can "falsely attribute" in The God's signs in the book and in "al-masjid al-7aram" (the institution of obeying the restriction). Those who setup partners are impure and will not come near "al-masjid al-7aram", while those who are purified will touch the honorable reading. Also, those who had faith feared poverty from not letting those who setup partners approach "al-masjid al-7aram", while people can earn a living by falsifying the honorable reading as per 56:82.

I interpret "al-masjid al-7aram" and the honorable reading to be two facets of "the truth from our Lord". Namely, "al-masjid al-7aram" is the implementation of the honorable reading by those who have faith. How do we implement it? We implement The God's system by orienting ourselves towards "al-masjid al-7aram"/the truth from our Lord wherever we are. For example, our institutions of authority (such as government) should be based on the principles of the truth from out Lord in the great reading. Naturally, those who setup partners would not implement such system but will try to undermine it for personal gains. Thus, we should not allow them to be in authority or even come near positions of authority. On the other hand, "al-masjid al-7aram"/ the truth from our Lord is for people who are committed to it ("al-3akif") and people who have left where they were to search for clarity ("al-badi").

I hope this helps.

Peace and all best wishes,

Ayman