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Ramadan and early islam and the Ebionites

Reader comment on item: Barack Obama and Islam: An Ongoing Saga
in response to reader comment: Is fasting beneficial?

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Aug 29, 2009 at 09:05

Hi Mohamed you wrote

>Maybe yes and maybe no. However, I think Ramadan is not a good month for productivity, peace or harmony. In Ramadan the day and night's activities are transposed. A person refrains from eating during the day but eats at night, then wakes up in the middle of the night to eat, then go to sleep - some stay awake for the whole night to eat the last meal and then sleep during the day.

You make lots of sense

>Another issue, if the person lives in a zone where there is a 24 hour sunlight or the opposite, what is he or she supposed to do?

Well as I pointed out before: If one lives in the arctic and if Ramadan arrives during the summer months where the daylight is 24 hours per day then how can one fast and not eat or drink water for 30 days? and during the winter months when it would be dark all the time there will bo no Ramadan. If so then Allah had no clue about the Arctic which means that Allah only knew Arabia and no more or the Ulama made things up and this fasting of Ramadan was all made up later on as I suspect as Muslims had to deal with the layer of al-Israeliyyat in the Qur'an

>Personally, I feel crappy if I eat after 8 PM or very early in the morning. I feel good though, if I refrain from food for 18 hours but drink plenty of water.

Nothing is wrong with that but can you fast and not drink water if you reside in the arctic (during the summer months) for 30 days?

>I believe Ramadan fasting is an Arab tradition to conserve food.

Well you make a good point here as in the pre-islamic Arabian calendar Rabi3 al-Awal was supposed to be the first month of the year and spring (not unlike the Persian New Year or al-Nawrooz) and the year used to be 3651/4 days and al-Nasi used to be the intercalary month which allowed the months to be in sync with the reality of the seasons until Muhammad declared that adding al-Nasi to the calendar is ziyadatan fi al-kufr and this is why the islamic calendar is really a joke

Now back tot the Ramadan fasting: we do not know very much about what really happened in al-Hijaz before Islam. We only know what the Islamic literary sources told us but these sources are very late (late 2nd and 3rd century of islam) as we do not have any extant literary sources be it ostraca, papyri, monuments etc... that would attest to the veracity of the islamic literary sources. So your point is very good but one cannot prove it based on the historical evidence that we have

>Also Arabs before Islam were not Pagan, they believed in God and the idols were symbols of their connection to God.

This could very well be true and indeed the connection via idols to Allah still exit in today's islam as in the case of venerating the black stone at al-ka3bba and venerating a copy of the Qur'an and venerating Muhammad as al-insan al-kamil

> Also, there was a thriving religious environment, there were Jews, Christians and Ebionites.

If you are speaking about al-Hijaz then you are not correct. There is no extant historical evidence that would support that there were Jews or Christians or Ebionites in al-Hijaz prior to islam unless we find a cave some where as in the case of the Nag Hammadi Library. We do not even have extant evidnece to support that Islam indeed comes from the Hijaz and all we have as I stated before is literary evidence that is late and tendentious that was written in distant Iran and Mesopotamia by non Arabs and the aim of such writings was to explain what this opaque revelation the Qur'an, that is, was saying

However, I find Wansbourgh's explanation about such issue to make lots of sense and it is: how about if those Jews and Christians in the Qur'an were those that resided outside the Hijaz in Mesopotamia? but this would move the origin of islam from al-Hijaz to where it really belongs and that is the civilized Middle East in Mesopotamia in the late antique period

> It is believe that Waraqa Ibn Nawfal was an Ebionite,

If by Ebionites you mean Judeo-Christianity then you make a good point, but the problem here is the veracity of the islamic sources and was the likes of a certain Waraqa ibn Nawfal a real historical charcter or was his made up by the tradition to expain that opaque revelation called al-Quran. In actual fact Arias of Alexnadria who is a real historical character must be the real prophet of islam and we also know from the extant Gospel of Thomas (extant in Coptic) that the so called gnostics regarded Jesus as a good teacher and a good Rabbi

But again that should not be surprising as in the words of Crone "religions do not spring fully fledged from the heads of prophets" and if the historical Muhammad indeed existed and he returns to this world he will not recognize Islam the way it is now. I would suspect that he would have been very surprised to find that there are non Arab Muslims. I supect that he regarded himslef as no more than another Moses that was sent by his ethnic God Allah to his people the Hijazi Arabs (Q14:4) and no more

>who didn't believe in the deity of Christ but believed in him as Prophet.

For the readers: Judeo-Christianity in the words of Hawting in his review of Wansbourgh's Sectarian Miiieu " that term can be quite ambiguous and mean different things in different contexts but almost if not all instances of it in SM refer to the religious tradition that a number of contemporary scholars prefer to call Jewish Christianity groups which in general maintained allegiance to the Mosaic law but accepted Jesus as prophet and Messiah. They rejected the Pauline understanding of Christianty and had various views about the nature of Jesus some but not all of them accepting his virgin birth. Wansbrough sometime refers to them as Ebionite"

Submitting....

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