For plato and real history and the problem of the sources part deux
Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Mar 4, 2007 at 08:42
Now I might be repeating myself here but if you notice you cannot read the Qur'an without reading sources external to the canon that can explain what the Qur'an is really saying. So to be blunt if you read the Qur'an alone, it just does not make any sense. And remember history is not guessing.
Now I will take you one more step and give you examples and they come from the Muslim masora so we are standing on terra firma as the masora is dated to the 3rd century:
1. Take the case of the strange letters as those at the begining of some chapters. No one have any clue what they really mean not back then and not now.
2. The strange words in the Qur'an and the most celebrated is the word Ilaf is Surat Quraish. No one has any idea what this word means not back then and not now. This did not stop the 3Ulama from guessing.
3. Take also the case of the rasm MLK in al-Fatiha. It is read as: Maaliki or the owner of (see the 1923-1924 Cairo edition of the Qur'an) or maliki of the king of (see the 1969 Tunisian edition of the Qur'an). Well the rasm MLK can either be maaliki or maliki and it cannot be both. Muhammad either heard it as one or the other and it cannot be both.
4. The proper names; the rasm of the name IBRHM can be read as Ibraham or Ibrahim and the name of the dog if the story of the seven sleepers of Ephesus is not really al-raqeem more likely than not is it a misreading of the Syriac DQS or Decius. But if the 3Ulama misread such names something is really wrong about the Qur'an as a text and about editing of the Qur'an.
5. For a more sophisticated historian Wansbrough presents a very interesting case and this is what is called "variant traditions" as in the case of the Shu3aib tradition and the "two gardens" tradition. Any reader of the Qur'an will notice that Allah keeps repeating himself ad nauseum as in the case of the above traditions. But these repititions are different which make you suspect that those that put the Qur'an together were collecting the Quranic logias with out any editing of these _variant traditions_ which were transmitted from various sources. The tradtiion explains such anomaly by claiming the asbab al-nuzul thing. This is a very subtle argument but a very prfound one indeed and that is: asbab al-nuzul are just as suspect and that it is all spin to explain this strange text called the Qur'an.
And do you know what this means (see Cook)? It could only mean that:
1. The Quranic logias and pericopes indeed predate Muhammad but if this is true then we can detach the Qur'an from Muhammad. And this very well explains the fact that no one had any clue about such puzzles.
2. Or contrary to the islamic tradition's Uthmanic recension claim, the Qur'an was indeed canonized in the 3rd century of Islam and the evidence here is clear as the masoretic activity can be dated to the 3rd century but in this case we can detach Islam from Arabia and classical Arabic (sic) from the Hijaz.
So what do you think plato?
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".
Reader comments (2099) on this item
Comment on this item
Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes