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The Roots of Islam and did Muhammad exist part three

Reader comment on item: Friendless in the Middle East
in response to reader comment: The Roots of Islam

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Jan 4, 2012 at 14:14

BB wrote

You seem to be in doubt that Muhammad did not exist and I have heard you say this in other comments as well.

Well if Muhammad indeed existed then we do not have extant evidence be it literary evidence or epigraphy or coins or monuments that would attest to the fact that there was indeed an historical Muhammad. What we have transmitted from the islamic historical tradition is late and tendentious and as was proven by Wansbrough to be no more than salvation history (read this as pious fiction)

How about his biography? Just imagine if you or I try to reconstruct the biography of let us say Ibraham Lincoln with no literary sources but only an oral tradition and to add insult to injury you and i are sitting in let us say France thousands of miles away in a different country and different milieu and different language and this is indeed what happened as the biography that we have in Ibn Hisham's redaction (EDITING) who died in Egypt in 830CE or almost 200 years after the death of Muhammad and he makes it very clear that he is editing an earlier biograpghy that we do not have it extant by Ibn Ishaq who was the Grandson of a Syrian and Christian. So what do we get? What we got here is no more than pious fiction where Ibn Ishaq is really trying to explain what all those opaque revelation aka the Qur'an and then put it in a biography form and therefore nothing is historical about it

Now if we turn to the Qur'an and try to reconstruct the life of Muhammad we will not be able to do so without reading the unreliable and bogus hadith and the confused and confusing tafseer and you will discover that you will find the name of Muhammad only mentioned 4 times in the Qur'an and one time he is called Ahmad and may be TAHA which if one is to read Ibn Kathir you will discover that TAHA is really the Rabbi Hilel's "Golden Rule" or Ta' al-ard ya rajul or stand on both feet O man

What is most amazing is that when you read his name in the Qur'an it can also be read as Muhammad(n) or the blessed which in Syrian/Arab Christianity was really Jesus! which makes one wonder that the Qur'an is not talking about a person but a character

Now if we turn to the islamic tradition you will discover that Muhammad's real name is really Qutham and his kunya is Abul Qasim and you will not find either names in the Qur'an and as for who is really his son Qasim? we have no clue

However, you will find the name of Moses aka Musa at least 124 times (and I stand corrected here on the exact number) and you will think that this Qur'an is really about Moses and not about a Muhammad

Now if you reveiew the extant literary sources coins epigraphy and monuments you will discover that the islamic sources are silent about the name of Muhammad ibn Abd Allah for 70 years and when his name appears it is Muhammad which can be read as the blessed and i do believe that the silence of the sources here is significant! So why the early islamic sources are silent about his name? and why does the islamic calendar start from 622CE the year of the so called Hijra and not from 610Ce when Muhammad started to receive revelation from Allah? It just makes you wonder that things were worked backwards

So did the tradition invent this Muhammad? Well if you read Western scholarship on islam you will get three different points of view and it is up to you to select the one that makes sense to you

1. Those that believe the Islamic historical tradition's view of history of early islam but they also admit that the islamic historical tradition has serious flaws as in being late and tendentious and that much of it is pious fiction and in the case of Doner he believes that Muslims indeed got the outlines of the tradition but not the details. But the difficulty here is that history is about undestanding the details as you have seen in the case of the "letters" from Muhammad to let us say al-Muqawqas

2. Wansbrough believed that if Muhmmad indeed existed then we do not have the extant evidence to support such an assertion and in fact he did not believe that he existed and that Muslims had to look back and invent a founder for the religion and a place where the religion started

And if you notice that the Umayyads did not select neither Mecca or Medina as the capital of the new empire but opted for Damascus and the reason is very obvious that they were local Christian Arabs and they lived in today's Syrian desert and Mesopotamia and they had nothing to do with the Hijaz and even more is the fact that Abd al-Malik the builder of al-masjid al-aqsa selected Jerusalem and not al-Hijaz as the place to build the first monument in what was to become islam and indeed his monument was supposed to be the destination of al-Hajj

And following the Abbassids revolution a new cultic center far away from the eyes of the other religions of the Middle East and a new founder had to be made up

And indeed Wansbrough's ideas were indeed a warning to students of early Islam and students of the sira literature and at present only poor historians and fools the likes of Karen Armstrong would dare to write a new biography of Muhammad without knowing where to go from here

3. Luxenberg and many Greman historians believe that what we have here is really a "transfer" from one tradition to a new one and i will give you an example here you recall that I mentioned that there was a letter that was supposed to have been sent by Muhammad to the Negus of Ethiopia but what is most amazing about such story is that the islamic tradition has no clue (see Crone) about the kingdom of Axum and the city of Adulis but they tell us about Muslims escaping to Ethiopia and trying to spread islam that did not even exist and and it seems that the people of Ethiopia have no information to provide us about those Arabs

In reality we do have another well documented group that indeed travelled to Ethiopia and yemen and were familiar with Adulis and Axum to spread Nestorian Christianity and their language was Syriac and what I see here is really no more than a transfer of what really happened from Syriac and Nestorian Chistianity ro Arabic and what was to become islam

So what Luxenberg is saying that if you read the inscriptions of the first monument in Islam and that is al-masjid al-aqsa you realize that this is indeed not islam but intra Christian polemics between the brand of Syrian/Arabian old Christianty and Trinitarian Christianity and the inscription MHMD ABD ALLH must be read as Muhammad(n) or the bleesed the servant of Allah and the blessed is the Christ and this is what he calls Muhammad 1

Now we move to the late 8th century Baghdad and the Abbassids had to select from among a long list of religions and for reasons we still do not know they opted for what was to become islam and they had to look back and invent a prophet of such new religion that was the byproduct of the religious debates among the mutitude of religions at the time and they came up with no more than a transfer from Muhammad 1 to a Muhammad II who is supposed to be the prophet of islam

And indeed it was not until the early 9th century that al-Khayzuran the mother of Harun al-Rashid travelled to Mecca and "located" the house of Muhammad! which was an ordinary house

Now it up to you to select what makes the most sense

I happen to believe that Muhammad never existed

Submitting....

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