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Tony Grist

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Islam: The Untold Story [Aug. 29th, 2012|01:10 pm]
Tony Grist
What do we know about the origins of Islam? Almost nothing. The historical record is a blank. We have the Koran and that's it. No-one, including the Arabs, had anything to say about Mohammed until sixty years after his death, by which time the Arabs had acquired a huge empire at the expense of the Romans and the Persians. Subjects of the new Empire weren't clear about the religion of their rulers, but thought it was a kind of Judaism. 

This absence of evidence has led some historians to speculate that the Arab armies weren't Muslim at all- that they were on a conquering mission, not a religious one- and it was only later, once they'd got their feet under the table, that they saw the need for an new, distinctive ideology to validate their empire and prop it up. That's when they discovered they'd once had a prophet of their own.  As for Mohammed himself, internal evidence suggests he composed the Koran in a fertile area close to the Dead Sea, a long way away from Mecca. His mythos got itself relocated there because (for chauvinistic reasons) the Arabs needed to associate him with their heartland. 

If you'd like to experience this material cut with a lot of entertaining ancient history read Tom Holland's book In The Shadow of the Sword; some critics have compared it to Gibbon. If you have 95 minutes to spare you might want to watch the TV film in which the same material is cut with a lot of footage of Holland wandering round the Middle East looking haunted. 
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: shullie
2012-08-30 06:55 am (UTC)
have recorded it to watch this weekend, when not so knackered!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-08-30 11:03 am (UTC)
It has an interesting point to make, but there's really no need for it to be so long.
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[User Picture]From: wolfshift
2012-08-30 03:08 pm (UTC)
Can be said fairly accurately of most documentaries.
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[User Picture]From: wolfshift
2012-08-30 03:16 pm (UTC)
My understanding of the spread of Islam is that it was exclusively a conquering mission, that originally they didn't want to let non-Arabs into the religion at all, and only later---when they discovered some political advantage in doing so---did they allow others to join. I don't remember whether I got that from a "traditional" Muslim source or a Western academic one, though I'm thinking it might be in Karen Armstrong's book, "Islam: A Short History". It wouldn't contradict Muslim tradition, so far as I know.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-08-31 09:03 am (UTC)
Muslim tradition is all we have to go on for the early history of Islam. Whether we accept it or not is, I suppose, a matter of faith and/or temperament.
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[User Picture]From: da3i
2018-06-17 03:23 am (UTC)

reply without links

It's apparently in many places in the Holy Quran that the Quran is a message for the whole world!


تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ الْفُرْقَانَ عَلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ لِيَكُونَ لِلْعَالَمِينَ نَذِيرًا — 25:1

"Blessed is He who sent down the Criterion upon His Servant that he may be to the worlds a warner" Quran, Chapter/Soura 25, Verse 1.

Also, in Quran Chapter 81:

إِنَّهُ ۥ لَقَوۡلُ رَسُولٍ۬ كَرِيمٍ۬ (١٩) ذِى قُوَّةٍ عِندَ ذِى ٱلۡعَرۡشِ مَكِينٍ۬ (٢٠) مُّطَاعٍ۬ ثَمَّ أَمِينٍ۬ (٢١) وَمَا صَاحِبُكُم بِمَجۡنُونٍ۬ (٢٢) وَلَقَدۡ رَءَاهُ بِٱلۡأُفُقِ ٱلۡمُبِينِ (٢٣) وَمَا هُوَ عَلَى ٱلۡغَيۡبِ بِضَنِينٍ۬ (٢٤) وَمَا هُوَ بِقَوۡلِ شَيۡطَـٰنٍ۬ رَّجِيمٍ۬ (٢٥) فَأَيۡنَ تَذۡهَبُونَ (٢٦) إِنۡ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكۡرٌ۬ لِّلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ (٢٧) لِمَن شَآءَ مِنكُمۡ أَن يَسۡتَقِيمَ (٢٨) وَمَا تَشَآءُونَ إِلَّآ أَن يَشَآءَ ٱللَّهُ رَبُّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ (٢٩)



"Verily this is the word of a most honourable Messenger, (19) Endued with Power, with rank before the Lord of the Throne, (20) With authority there, (and) faithful of his trust. (21) And (O people!) your companion is not one possessed; (22) And without doubt he saw him in the clear horizon. (23) Neither doth he withhold grudgingly a knowledge of the Unseen. (24) Nor is it the word of an evil spirit accursed. (25) So where are you going? (26) Verily this is no less than a Message to (all) the Worlds: (27) (With profit) to whoever among you wills to go straight. (28) But ye shall not will except as Allah wills the Cherisher of the Worlds. (29)"



أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ هَدَى اللَّهُ ۖ فَبِهُدَاهُمُ اقْتَدِهْ ۗ قُل لَّا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا ۖ إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرَىٰ لِلْعَالَمِينَ - 6:90

".... Those are the ones whom Allah has guided, so from their guidance take an example. Say, "I ask of you for this message no payment. It is not but a reminder for the worlds." (Chapter/Soura 6, verse 90)


Arab/Non-Arab.

The Holy Quran states that all human are equals, and the difference only is based on righteousness:


يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا ۚ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ - 49:13



"O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted." Quran Sura/chapter 49, Verse 13.

Prophoite Muhammed (peace be upon him) said "Verily Allah does not look to your bodies nor to your faces but He looks to your hearts," and he pointed towards the heart with his fingers." [The book of Sahih Muslim]


Also Said,

عَنْ أَبِي نَضْرَةَ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِي وَسَطِ أَيَّامِ التَّشْرِيقِ فَقَالَ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ أَلَا إِنَّ رَبَّكُمْ وَاحِدٌ وَإِنَّ أَبَاكُمْ وَاحِدٌ أَلَا لَا فَضْلَ لِعَرَبِيٍّ عَلَى أَعْجَمِيٍّ وَلَا لِعَجَمِيٍّ عَلَى عَرَبِيٍّ وَلَا لِأَحْمَرَ عَلَى أَسْوَدَ وَلَا أَسْوَدَ عَلَى أَحْمَرَ إِلَّا بِالتَّقْوَى أَبَلَّغْتُ قَالُوا بَلَّغَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ


Abu Nadrah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said during the middle of the day at the end of the pilgrimage, “O people, your Lord is one and your father Adam is one. There is no favor of an Arab over a foreigner, nor a foreigner over an Arab, and neither white skin over black skin, nor black skin over white skin, except by righteousness. Have I not delivered the message?” They said, “The Messenger of Allah has delivered the message.”(Source: Musnad Aḥmad, Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Ibn Taymiyyah)



Among first Muslims and Muhamad companion (peace be upon them), there was some of them from no-arab origin, Iike Balal Bin Rabah (you can read more about him in wikipedia) his mather was from Africa (Ethiopia), Also there was "Salman the Persian" he was the first Persian converts to Islam, and Muhammed (peace be upon him considered hime to be one of his family).

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[User Picture]From: da3i
2018-06-17 03:29 am (UTC)

This not true at all

historical record is a blank.? where is this coming from! the full history of Islam, the life of the prophet and his companions and everything is recorded!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2018-06-17 12:52 pm (UTC)

Re: This not true at all

I wrote this post after reading Tom Holland's book In The Shadow of the Sword- which investigates the origins of Islam. While he doesn't question the teachings of the Faith- which is quite outside his remit- he does put forward controversial suggestions regarding its early history.
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[User Picture]From: da3i
2018-06-17 04:09 pm (UTC)

Re: This not true at all

I'm not aware of that book, but for sure the Islam history is well written and known! and if what you are writing here is what is in that book, this completely wrong. Or maybe the author meant there was no western record for this period, because of this something that happened while Europe was in what was called the dark ages, and no one there cares to record what is happing in the middle east at this time! and later for them, it's just the enemy from the east! but for Muslims and among Muslims it was recorded and teach in the schools from the beginning

For example, you said "We have the Koran and that's it," This not true, but the Koran itself contains a lot of history because it was revealed over a period of 23 years (on compused near the Dead Sea). It contains a lot of historical details, and some of the verses described the conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims (non-muslims in Quran are the Arab who did not believe in the message and fought Muslims) at this time and such verses are short cannot be fully understood without understanding the backgrounds and full historical event behind the verses and what it's actually it is talking about! So for any Muslims (ordinary) to fully understand the Karan he needs to know a lot of history.

Please, if you interested in knowing really what is Islam is about (maybe this why you read that book in the first place), I would recommend that you listen to this video by a non-muslims, "Understanding Islam - Part 1
by Matt Davies" [https://youtu.be/jhGnglI4Ktg], it does not talk about history much but it will tell you that the story is really the other way around, not a people want to create an Empire and then come up with religion for it, it's really the other way around, It's a religion which created an Empire just to protect this religion and make sure it's main book -the Koran- and it's goals does not get change or controlled by other empires exists at this time.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2018-06-17 05:12 pm (UTC)

Re: This not true at all

Holland's book caused a lot of controversy at the time of publication (in 2012). There'll be plenty about it online. I wrote about it because it interested me- but I'm not a historian of the period and have no idea if his arguments stand up.
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