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Historical discontinuity or the concept of al-jahiliya and the likes of Havas

Reader comment on item: Islamist Turkey vs. Secular Iran?
in response to reader comment: True representation

Submitted by dhimmi no more (United States), Dec 17, 2010 at 07:23

For the readers Havas's ancsetors must have been Greeks and Aremians and Syrians

>Dhimi No More's take on who the Turks are is simplistic

Erich: I study the history of early islam and the Arab invasions of the civlized Middle East starting in 633CE have very much in common with the Turkish invasion of the Byzantine Empire as you shall see below. And much of the information that I will provide you is no secret and the credit must go to Hawtings and just read with care

Historians of early islam had to resolve the problem of "why the Arab conquerers of the Middle East were not absorbed by the societies and cultures over which they established domination"

The islamic historical tradition offers the following explanation: the concept of al-jahiliya (or the days of ignorance) in other words that islam was a new start or historical discontinuity but the the extant historical evidence would not support such claim

The answer to the above question was provided by the great German Historian of early islam in his very celebrated phrase: "So bizarr es klingt ohne Alexander den Grossen keine islamiche Zivilisation."

In other words that islam was in fact the product of the civilized Middle East and that its origin in the Hijaz as claimed by the Islamic tradition is far from the truth

Hawting explains it very well '"the Arab conquest of the Middle East seems comprable to numerous other instances of the conquest by barbarian outsiders of lands with a strong cultural tradition and an established system of government in other words although the barbarians may have achieved military conquest and political domination the culture of the conquered people proved more resilient and to some extent absorbed the conquers. in particular religion and to some extent language of the conquered overcame those of the conquerors and eventually lead to thei assimilation in the general population"

The islamic historical tradition tells us it is all about historical discontinuity and this is why the let us say the Syriac and Geeek speakers and Christians in the Middle East became Arab and Muslims but this is a very simplistic answer as I wrote before that cannot be supported by the extant evidence

Now back to Hatwings: "at first sight the Arab conquest of the Middle East has a radically different outcome instead of the arabs losing their identity and becoming Greek (or Syriac or Egyptian/Coptic) speaking christians it looks as if the conquered peoples accepted the identity of the conquers and became mainly arab and muslim"

So what becker is really saying is that in actual fact the religion and the culture of "islam was not brought out of Arabia by the conquering Arabs and either imposed on the peoples of the Middle East by force or willingly accepted by them in a passive way"

Now change the words Arabs and make it Turks and the Middle east and make it Asia Minor and the Byzantine Empire and chnage Greek and Syriac and Egyptian/Coptic for Greek, Syriac and Armenian and you will have the answer of what really happened in Turkey and it is not really historical discontinuity but in actual fact the old civilizations of Asia Minor did not just disappear but they reshaped and created what is really now Turkey and that the rule of the invading Turks for such change was marginal at best

And as Patricia Crone once wrote: Old civilizations are never conjured away and this is why Havas did not reply because he knows that I'm right


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