2 readers online now  |  69 million page views

Arabization and Islamization of Egypt

Reader comment on item: How the West Could Lose
in response to reader comment: Islamization and Arabization of Egypt

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Mar 25, 2007 at 18:10

Hi Ianus

There is so much to cover so I'm trying to pick up one of more points and answer you.

You are correct that human memory is just amazing and yes oral transmission of literature is well documented more so in the case of scripture and one example is the Vidas that were transmitted orally by Brahmans for a very long time with great consistency.

But what we are dealing with here is the transmission of qissas (stories) by tradents, and we know for a fact that these stories, even if they had some historical basis, by the time the 3Ulama started writing Islamic history there was no truth anymore, as it was all fabrications. Case in point is the story of Mariya al-Qibtiya in Q66 (if you wish to read more here just let me know as we have plenty of evidence that will refute the historicity of such story from sources external to the Islamic tradition) and the story of Muhammada's al-Isra' wa al-mi3raj (Muhammad ascent to heaven) Q17 and the fact that no one had a clue what the words al-masjad al-aqsa and al-masjad al-haram realy means and it was not until the 11th century that the site of al-masjad al-aqsa was fixed as being in Jerusalem. So the question now is: How come the Arabs with their great memory did not recognize such fact in the let us say the 3rd century when Tabari wrote his exegesis? My guess is only Alahu A3lam or no one really knows because no one really care to know or that the 3Ulama were making things up.

But the real wake up call about the reliability of Islamic history oral and written must be Noth's "Quellenkritische" which is a must reading for anyone who studies the history of early Islam

How about al-shi3r al-jahili? or the pre-Islamic poetry? Taha Husain believed that it is all fabricated and this would not surprise me as the masorites made it clear at times that indeed some of these quotes, used to prove that Quranic grammar is consistent with the grammar is the poetry, were made up by the same 3Ulama! Just amazing. But I do believe that based on 'variant traditions" in the Qur'an there must have been a corpus of pericopes and logias as well as secualr poetry transmitted by the Arabs and were indeed written down by the 3Ulama. More later.

Now as I said, the Qur'an is a puzzling document. It is full of allusions that do not mean much and it is clear that the author except that the reader must be familiar with the Bible and this is why the Qur'an can be regarded as nothing but a midrash (See Wansbrough). I challenge anyone to reconstruct the life of Muhammad by reading the Qur'an alone without reading sources external to the canon eg: the sira which is very much unhistorical.

But again, like I said before why did the 3Ulama in the 3rd century had no clue about such words as; Ilaf, kalala, ababeel, sijeel, 3An yad, hur, samad or these strange letters in some chapters what does all this mean? There must have been some literary as well as oral disconnect between 632CE when Muhammad died and the 3rd century when the 3Ulama (the masorites in particular) started the task of explaining what the Qur'an really is saying but it could also means that the Quranic pericopes and logias pre-date Muhammad.

But the final nail in the coffin of the memory of the Arabs is the word; MLK in surat al-Fatiha and is it Maaliki or the owner of (see the 1923-1924 Cairo edition of the Qur'an) or Maliki or the king of (see the 1969 Tunisian edition of the Qur'an) it is either Muhammad heard it as maaliki or maliki but it could not have been both!

So how did this happen? The rasm is MLK

1. In case one: meen and an alif (this is an edited alif) lam (with an edited kasra) and kaf (with an edited kastra) and now we have MAALIKI

2. Omit the alif and add a fatha instead and now we have: meem with a fatha and lam with a kasra and kaf with a kasra and now we have MALIKI

So you can see that the Muslim masorites were indeed guessing and in the process editing the poor rasm and do you know what this means? It means that no one had a clue what the rasm of the word MLK really means!

So the way i see it and I agree with Becker: the Arab polity that invaded the Middle East in 633CE had no defined religion as of yet and the likes of the word Allah is a loan word from Syriac as well as bismillah is a loan expression from Syriac's Beshem Alaha and these were indeed common sayings in the Middle East in the late antique period and nothing Islamic about them.

This Arab polity selected Islam for reasons that we still do not understand a religion that was being formed out of the great debates that pre-occupied the great civilizations of the Middle east in the late antique period (eg: the nature of the Christ) and what is just amazing about the Qur'an is the poor theology (eg; Jesus is a prophet and a God) and funny contradictions (eg: the doctrine of al-nasikh wa al-mansukh) which makes you wonder that whoever was the person responsible for putting the Qur'an together he was a very conservative editor and he was for sure not a very good theologian but it also could mean that the holy book of this new religion was not well thought out.

And this is in a nutshell is what C. Becker is saying and that is the only way that we can explain the reason of why did the Arabs not convert to Christianty and abandon Arabic and speak Syriac or Coptic or Greek as per our anthropology model is to think of the Arab invasion as just a catalyst for a religious as well as cutlural/linguistic shift that was taking place in the Middle East _prior_ to the Arab invasion. And this indeed makes sense.

Submitting....

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".

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to Arabization and Islamization of Egypt by dhimmi no more

Email me if someone replies to my comment

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".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List
eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2020 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)