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Khalaf: Wansbrough never wrote that muahmmad did not exist. You really need to read him with great care because I do not think that you did

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in response to reader comment: To Nuray, servant of Allah , and Omar

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Feb 2, 2006 at 18:31

Did Muhammad exist? The answer is yes, and what is surprising is that we hear about him from sources external to the Muslim sources (Syriac sources) and _not_ from the Muslim sources where there is no mention of the name of Muhammad or even rasul allah for 72 years after his death (for all Arabic language extant sources in the first 72 years after the death of Muhammad you can check Hoyland survey). The silence of the sources here is very significant, and we do not know even why.

The only guess is that Wansbrough might be correct in his remark where he revisits the great German historian Becker's great observation: "It is bizarre but without the Greek civilization there would have been no Islamic civilization."

What Becker was saying is that the idea proposed by Muslims about the Jahiliya or historical discontinuity cannot be supported from the historical or literary evidence. Now, what Wansbrough did was something very interesting: he applied the tools of literary criticism to the very early Muslim sources, and his conclusion is based on the evidence that most likely what happened is that those invading Arabs (notice that those invading Arabs did not call themselves Arabs or Muslims but called themselves al-Muhajiruun) invaded the civilized polyglot Middle East and came across a new religion that was emerging out of what he diagnosed as sectarian milieu and this what was to become Islam, and for reasons we do not understand the Arabs adopted this new religion and had to look back and find "a Prophet" not unlike Moses and the choice was Muahmmad.

As for the Arabic language without Mesopotamia and Iran and most important without the Nestorian doctors ( and Nestorians are Christians GASP!!!) at Dar al-Hikma at the time of al-Khalifa al-Ma'moon, the Arbaic language would not have been the literary language that it became. Many of today's Arabic language words were _invented_ by the Nestorians based on Sibawayh, another non Arab: Fi3l. On the top of the list of Nestorians is Hunein Ibn Ishaq ( and no he was not Muslim. He was Nestorian) who has also been credited for the introduction of the short Arabic vowels the likes of fatha, Damma and Kasra straight out of Syriac, and also many Arabic words (when he was translating the Greek learning to Syriac and then to Arabic) the likes of Tuhal (spleen) al-Safra (jaundice), balgham (sputum) and a long list of words that would have been foreign words to Muahmmad and his generation but very much Arabic words to Ibn Manzur and his Lisan al-'Arab.. And how can we forget the great Sibawayh who was not even an Arab. The evidence indicates that the rule of Arabs in the evolution of their own language was marginal at best. The Arabic language of the 9th century was not the product of the Arabs anymore. It was shaped by the Iranians, Mesopotamians and the Nestorians and not the Arabs. The Arabs did what they did best and that was: PLUNDER, RAPE and destory the great civilizations of the late antique world. A most horrible crime against man/womankind.

Now Ali Dashti believed that 70% of al-'Ulum al-Islamiya (Tafseer, Hadith etc...) were the product of the Iranians and not the Arabs. Can you imagine Islam without the likes of Tabari?

So what did Wansbrough achieve:? He made us think that indeed that the rule of the Arabs in developing the emerging Islam, and the Arabic language and what was to become the Islamic civilization was marginal at best.

The hadith is unhistorical (see Ignaz Goldziher) and so is the sira as for the Qur'an it is in the words of Peters: Text with no context.

One final point here and this is your bonus question: how do you explain the linguistic and religious shift that took place in the Middle East after the Arab invasion?

Iqra' wa it'alim so go and read Wansbrough and refute him if you can, and do me a favor : do not comment on a book until you read it, and I wish you good luck.
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Mark my comment as a response to Khalaf: Wansbrough never wrote that muahmmad did not exist. You really need to read him with great care because I do not think that you did by dhimmi no more

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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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