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Our dear Taj and al-wali wa al-mawali and the Quranic word awliya'

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in response to reader comment: Our dear Taj and sometimes it is better not to "elucidate"

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Oct 13, 2008 at 08:21

Those Arabs that invaded the civilized Middle East strating in 633CE called themselves al-muhajiruun (Mhgraye in Syriac and moagaritoi in Greek) they for sure did not call themselves Arabs (tayyaye in Syriac) or Muslims for this matter and for all intents and purposes one can say that the end of the Umayyads in 750CE (the 3Abbasids revolution) also ushered the end of the late antique period

There is no evidence that islam existed in the way we know it now until the late second and 3rd century of islam. There was no Qur'an or books of hadith or books of history, no dictionaries or even islamic law. But one thing those muhajiruun knew early on and that is this still primitive creed was not unlike the religion of the Jews where we have a nabi/rasul who is not unlike Moses and who is forced to flee (hijra) the city of his birth and in the process a book is revealed to him in a sacred langauge (Arabic that is) and then he returns to the cultic center/city (Mecca) of his birth and the rest is history. But those Arabs realized that their holy book says that their religion only belongs to the Arabs (see Q14:4, 10:47, 13:8, 35:24, 28:75) and that islam was indeed ethnocentric not unlike Judaism. And this is the reason why converison to islam during the Umayyads period was not encouraged.

The 3abbasids were very different as many of them were Persians and not Arabs and wished to become Muslims and this is why we start to see the concept of al-wali wa al-mawali where a potential covert to islam must become an Arab first by becoming a mawla of an Arab wali (friend /sponsor and the plural is awliya') and then and only then he can covert to islam

So we know from history what this word awliya' really means (friends/helpers/sponsors) But the Qur'an is an opaque revelation as usual and is of no much help in this case. And to add insult to injury the first Arabic language dictionary Lisan al-3Arab by Ibn Manzur was put together some 600 years after all these great events and in the process one can very much argue that Ibn Manzur's Arabic is really Middle Arabic but again it is a stable Arabic word and it means: friends/sponsors/helpers all in one

Do us a favor: stick to Urdu

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