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Sunday, July 19, 2015
When al-Hajjaj killed the prayer
The Islamic historians agree that al-Hajjaj "killed the salat". J. Little wrote in January's ‘The Qurʾānic Milieu ("Where Was the Koran Written?")’, that this might refer to the redirection of qibla.
I didn't incorporate this into this year's edition of Throne of Glass. By then I had been acquainted with Little's blog. It is a good blog, certainly better than mine. But I might not have read that far into that particular post when I was editing my book.
My book had assumed that where we read "killing the prayer" we should look for some sort of reduction, first. Last February I found such an event: al-Hajjaj was pushing all the afternoon prayers on Friday into one service, so he could guarantee the best audience for his weekly rant. So I didn't think of mosque-redirection.
Qibla-redirection otherwise hadn't mattered much to my book's argument, although the book does mention it some. It further seems that a lot of the redirection happened at Wasit, the new city near Iraqi Kashkar. J. Little sets the big Killing The Prayer controversy to Ibn al-Ash'ath circa 700; he sets Wasit to 703 - as do I, on both counts. We agree that this redirection happened after al-Hajjaj had settled the prayer controversies, at swordpoint. Which means we can't enlist the Wasit qibla as evidence for the killing of prayer, or at least not easily.
I must conclude that I still like my idea better.
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