||"dawnbreak in the west"|
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Allow me. Rather... allow the people who know what they're damned well talking about, whether or not that includes me. There exists an increasing literature on Islam's origins. The only people talking about Arab paganism these days are Muslims, pro-Islam apologists, and Jack Chick. None of what I am about to say is secret knowledge.
Now, in olden days, the notion of an Arab pagan origin for Islam wasn't entirely silly. Islam in several ways indicts itself, with that Stone and those planet-style circumambulations around it. And where the Qur'an mentions mushrikun (those associating alien entities to God) it is sometimes in connexion with female... supernatural forces ... like al-Uzza, if with hostile intent. Al-Uzza was worshipped by Arab pagans, by the way; in the Hira, under Sasanian benevolent oversight. During the Muslim heyday of the Abbasids, the traditionist and proto-haeresiologist Ibn al-Kalbi taught a bunch of classes about Arabian "idolatry" (asnam). The book which his students made of these lectures has been pretty much everyone's point of departure since then.
But G.R. Hawting has since looked into the Qur'an's treatment of "shirk", and into Ibn al-Kalbi's work, in The Idea of Idolatry and the Emergence of Islam (Cambridge University Press, 1999). Al-Uzza herself might have been an angel; who knows. What matters is that none of this is central to the Qur'an's argument - which argument is displayed before all the peoples of the Book around the Rock under that Dome. The mushrikun were and are Christian trinitarians.
So, what is everyone saying about Islamic origins instead? For the audience in question, we mostly care about the revisionists... like Hawting. Well, the Orientalists are all circling around Jewish-Christian thought. Mostly the "Elkasaites" are being namechecked here. Just in the last few years we've had Ibn Warraq's Christmas in the Koran, Ohlig's Early Islam, a lot of Luxenberg's output (in both), Zellentin's Qur'an's Legal Culture and many others. John Wansbrough himself wrote many essays about Islam's sectarian-milieu, on how nothing in the Qur'an makes sense outside a Jewish and Christian matrix. Patricia Crone and Yehuda Nevo wondered if Samaritans were involved. And on, and on.
Again: these men and women are not apologists for Islam. And it is disgusting to submit that they are propagating a "lie".
Forget that stupid moon god. PLEASE.
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