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Carl Becker: Historical continuity v discontinuity, the "Semites", al-Hijra or is it the "Year of the Arab Kings"!

Reader comment on item: Jerusalem, Jordan, and the Jews
in response to reader comment: Who is Semitic and Who is Not and Why It Matters

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Aug 28, 2020 at 14:53

You wrote:

>As you wrote elsewhere in this forum, the issues of religious intellectualism that touches on the Arabic influences of the modern Middle East is not being determined strictly on Arabic terms, but on 'foreign' influences imposed by religious elitism that was utilized to force submission on subject peoples; and bring division to the idea that one form of monotheistic religious control cannot be how humanity must live in the Middle East while Israel still stands on lands everyone wants to control, from Egypt to the Golan.
The Hebrew Holy Writ is Semitic, just as being Arabic is Semitic; "Palestinians' as a name is not Semitic: so how does that work?

Very good questions.

G R Hawting quotes the great German historian Carl Becker: "So bizarr es klingt ohne Alexander den Grossen keine islamische Zivilisation."

Becker rejected the claim by the Islamic Historical Tradition that al-Futuh al-Islamiyya or the Arab invasions of the Middle East starting in 633 AD was historical discontinuity and that the Arab invasions were a new start ordained by the God of Muhammad.

Historians view the outcome of the invasions by the "barbarians" as: The barbarian in due time will adopt the language and religion of the "civilized" (or those whose lands were invaded). So we should expect that the Arabs that invaded the Middle East should have ended by being Aramaic or Greek speakers speakers and Eastern Christians in all their denominations in Syria and Mesopotamia, Egyptian/Coptic speakers and Orthodox Christians in Egypt, Latin and Berber speakers and Roman Catholic Christians in Tunis, Algiers, and Morocco.

But this is not what really happened. The civilized adopted the religion as well as the language of the barbarian. Becker believes that the Middle Eastern peoples were ready for a change for reasons still unknown to us and the end result is that the civilized shaped not just Islam (as in the case of Iran) but also the Arabic language as in the case of Syria and Mesopotamia. It is indeed surprising to realize that almost all of the Arabic language grammarians were not Arabs. They were Mesopotamian and Iranians. it is the civilized that created Islam. And indeed Becker partially solves the problem after all history, as has been mentioned several times) is about continuity not discontinuity as we have been told by the unreliable Islamic Historical Tradition.

Now, we go back to the year 622 AD. If you read the extant Syriac and Greek literary sources we are told that there is a new calendar made by the Arabs and it starts in the year 622 AD and is called "The Year of the Kings of the Arabs" Why? The literary sources do not help us.

So what really happened in 622 AD? The unreliable Islamic Historical Tradition, written in late second and early 3rd century of Islam that this is the year of the Hijra or immigration of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina. However, we do not have any extant literary sources, from both Islamic as well non Muslim lietrary sources, that support this assertion. Yes, "argument from silence" is not a strong argument still we do not have any literary sources from the Islamic tradition from 622 AD to support such claim. More damaging to the Islamic Historical Tradition? It would make more sense to start the Islamic calendar from the year when Muhammad started to receive "revelations" from his God in 610 AD and not from 622 AD.

So if it is not the Hijra what really happened in 622 AD? It was the massive loss in battles in Upper Mesopotamia and the turning point and rapid decline and final defeat of the Persians in their very long war with the Greeks that lasted between 614 AD and 627 AD when the Persians were finally defeated. This long, bloody and very expensive war left both the Greeks and the Persians weak. Meanwhile, the Arab vassal/client states in both Mesopotamia and the Syrian desert (The Lakhmids and Ghassanids) were able to be in charge of the crumbling Iranian and Greek empires and now we have the year of the "king of the Arabs" or the year when the Arabs took control of the state. It is interesting to know that the take over by the Arabs of Iran might have started in 627 AD instead of the 630's AD and more interesting, the first attested Arab ruler, Mu'awiyya, continued to pay tributes to the Geeks for a while.

Now, the Persian/Greek war is preserved in the Qur'an and if you are interested I can provide you with a link to an old post of mine about that the Qur'an really says in Surat al-Ruum.

Sorry, no easy answers.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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